Rising vegetable prices have increased retail cost of eggs in Delhi and National Capital Region in the last few days. An egg sold at Rs. 5 a piece till a month back is now sold at the rate of Rs. 7 each in Delhi and NCR areas. The cost of one crate containing 30 eggs has increased from 150 to 180 Rs while the cost of a dozen eggs has gone up from `55 to `82 in the past few days. Interestingly, the cost escalation has been attributed by vendors to the soaring prices of onions, tomatoes and other vegetables, besides heightened demand during the winter season. Vendors claimed that due to rising prices of vegetables, people are shifting to eggs.
The rise in vegetable prices has contributed to the increase in the prices of eggs because in many cities, the main vegetables are costlier than a dozen eggs. As per Poultry Federation of India (PFI), prices of eggs will remain high till February, 2018, as consumers allocate a larger portion of their stretched food budgets for eggs. Eggs are in short supply due to lower production. The supply deficit is likely to continue for a few more months and the price would remain firm till February or March.
The onion prices have touched Rs. 50-60 a kg whereas tomato rate is Rs.80 and 90 a kg in the retail market. Green vegetables and milk prices have gone up in the past few days. For example, spinach (palak) and green mustard (sarson) cost about Rs. 40 a kg.
Independent poultry farms have incurred losses due to subdued prices over three or four years. As a result, many small and medium poultry farms that emerged in the past four or five years have reduced their production drastically. Total egg production increased from 27.33 billion during 2015-16 (rainy) to 29.09 billion during 2016-17 (rainy), recorded a growth of 6.42 per cent. The production of egg is largely contributed by commercial poultry farms with nearly 75.75 per cent and the remaining production is from household/backyard poultry. The first five highest egg-producing States are Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal and Haryana during the rainy season.