Egg mafia profits from high prices and limited imports | Sunday Observer

Egg mafia profits from high prices and limited imports

11 June, 2023

The issue of egg scarcity has reached the Cabinet as the country grapples with a growing concern over the lack of availability of eggs impacting children’s nutrition, Ministerial sources yesterday said.

According to Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, the decisions regarding this matter will be made during next week’s Cabinet meeting.

The sources said that the Government aims to develop effective strategies to curb the influence of the egg mafia, ensure a sufficient supply of essential food items, and meet the population’s nutritional needs.

Egg and chicken prices continue to remain high in the market in the country because certain higher-ups in the departments of agriculture, animal production, and health have been avoiding permitting the import of eggs and maize, a Trade Commerce and Food Security Ministry official who wish to remain anonymous said yesterday.

“We are left out in the cold in our attempts to bring down the prices of poultry products and maize as the Agriculture Department heads would not allow us to import maize as poultry feed while the Animal Production and Health Department heads would not allow us to import eggs citing bird-flu concerns,” the official said.

On the contrary, the egg mafia has taken control of the egg market, making a net profit of Rs 20 from each egg in a country with a monthly requirement of 250 million eggs.

The egg mafia, he said, is controlled by a handful of men, three to five persons, who sell at least 100,000 eggs per day. The country needs a staggering eight billion eggs daily to meet the national demand.

The poultry traders increased chicken prices to Rs 1,600 per kilo recently, with the fish prices going up in the market because of the stormy conditions in the sea preventing fishing activities, he said.

The country had a maize production of 40 percent in the past, but it has declined to 15 percent due to fertiliser problems experienced in the past.