World Cup Ate My Eggs: Growing Gulf Demand Encourages Indian Poultry Farmers

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Rising demand from the Gulf region doubled the country’s egg exports and also boosted domestic prices. This is good for poultry farmers who have been facing losses since the pandemic.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar has boosted the country’s egg exports as Gulf countries increasingly look to India to bridge a widening supply-demand gap.

Ukraine and Turkey are the main exporters of eggs to the Gulf countries, while India is a smaller player. Since the start of the war with Russia, supplies from Ukraine have dwindled, giving India an opportunity to fill the gap.

Apart from the usual demand, the upcoming football fiesta is expected to drive consumption further as people from all over the world flock to Qatar. Along with Oman and the United Arab Emirates, Qatar also became a large importer of Indian eggs.

The shortage has also pushed up the prices of eggs from Turkey. “Eggs from Turkey are selling at $36-37 per carton of 360 eggs. Our prices are around $30-31,” said K Singaraj, president of the All India Poultry Products Exporters Association.

Much of India’s egg exports come from Namakkal in Tamil Nadu, which is the center of egg production in the country. Namakkal produces around 4.5 million eggs per day. Total production in the country is estimated at around 30 million eggs per day.

The export of eggs to the Gulf countries from India was booming even 5-6 years ago. After the subsequent bird flu in several states and the outbreak of Covid, supplies fell. Exports recovered somewhat earlier this year, reaching around 3 million eggs per month.

“Growing demand from the Gulf region has doubled egg exports to the country, which is good for poultry farmers who have been facing losses since the pandemic,” Singaraj said.

Local egg prices have rarely kept pace with rising production costs recently, which has hit poultry farmers hard. “The cost of production has increased from Rs 4.50 per egg to Rs 4.75. If they do not get a price of at least Rs 5 throughout the year, it is not viable for farmers,” said K G Anand, head of the Venkateshwara Hatchery in Andhra Pradesh. , a major egg-producing state.

Currently, the retail prices vary between Rs 5.50-7.00 per egg in different parts of the country, which is beneficial for poultry farmers. “But we don’t see that all year round. If you take an annual average, it will be less than the cost of production,” Anand said. The rise in feed prices is the main factor in rising production costs. Poultry feed has become more expensive, and the prices of key ingredients such as corn and soybeans are high.

Egg consumption usually rises during the winter months, especially in northern states. However, now a significant portion of Namakkal’s production is going towards meeting the growing export demand. Won’t this increase the price of eggs further?

“No, prices will be maintained at the current level as higher demand in northern India is offset by a drop in consumption in southern states due to the Sabarimala temple pilgrimage season,” said Singaraj, Kerala buys almost half of the eggs produced in Namakkal. With higher demand for Namakkal eggs, egg prices in Kerala have risen sharply. “From Rs 4.50 per egg a month ago, they have now reached Rs 5.70. This is likely to continue for several weeks as it is not easy to start production in a short time,” said C J George, president of Kerala Egg Dealers Association.

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