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Traders Export to Halt Fall of Local Egg Prices

by 5m Editor
22 October 2009, at 10:39a.m.

THAILAND - Egg traders have decided to quickly export 20 million eggs in an attempt to stop local prices from falling further.

The shipments to Hong Kong and Africa will be completed by the end of this month and are expected to stop egg prices from dropping lower than 2.10 baht each, the lowest level for several months, according to Mongkol Pipatsattayanuwong, president of the Association of Hen-Egg Farmers, Traders and Exporters.

Domestic egg prices have been dropping from an average of 2.60 to 2.70 baht last month, due to shrinking demand during the vegetarian festival and school holidays, he said.

Mr Mongkol said the association had used 4 million baht from the newly established egg fund to run the programme. The fund pays 0.20 baht per egg to farmers, allowing them to earn 2.10 baht per egg sold for export.

The earnings are still lower than the average production cost of 2.40 baht, so a large market surplus is a big concern.

"The programme aims to absorb the surplus from the market, especially over the rest of this month, otherwise egg prices may drop further," he said.

Egg traders and producers set up a price stabilisation fund in July with an initial fund of 20 million baht. Exports are a basic practice to absorb the surplus while campaigns to encourage higher egg consumption will also be implemented.

According to the Livestock Development Department, Thailand's egg consumption per capita per year is about 160 eggs, compared with 270-280 in Singapore, 230-240 in Malaysia, and more than 300 eggs in Japan.

The department has mapped out plans to increase egg consumption among Thais to 200 a year by the end of the five-year programme, or by 2012.

Thailand each year exports about 400 million eggs, mainly to Hong Kong. African countries have emerged as new markets in recent years, with sales exceeding 70 million eggs last year.

To arrest falling prices sustainably, Mr Mongkol suggested the department register independent egg farmers to manage supply more efficiently. There are about 110 to 120 independent farms that supply up to 30 per cent of egg production, with the balance from 300 registered farms.

The Office of Agricultural Economics estimates egg production this year at 9.9 billion, up 5.07 per cent from 2008 thanks to better stock and farm management.