The country’s leading poultry corporations persistently fuel volatility in the egg jacking up prices, as indicated by a recent report from the commerce ministry.
The report, prepared by the Directorate of National Consumers’ Right Protection (DNCRP), reveals that prominent poultry companies such as Kazi, Paragon, Peoples, Diamond and Nabil continue to sell eggs at prices ranging from Tk 11.30 to Tk 11.50 each, which the directorate considers considerably elevated.
The sustained high prices set by these companies have thwarted the government’s attempts to cap the retail price of eggs at Tk 12 per piece, said officials.
The DNCRP report, forwarded to the commerce ministry, discloses that the directorate monitored five major egg-producing companies, including Kazi Farm Group, Nabil, Paragon, Peoples and Diamond, from August 16 to 19.
The findings showed that these leading corporations maintained their egg prices at the previous highs of Tk 11.30 to Tk 11.50.
DNCRP has recommended taking necessary actions against the companies to bring the retail prices within the maximum of Tk 12 per piece.
According to DNCRP, Bangladesh Poultry Industries Central Council (BPICC) and Bangladesh Poultry Association (BPA), egg prices stood at Tk 10.70 to Tk 11 per piece at large poultry farms in July.
However, the companies began raising prices in early August, with average prices per piece jumping to Tk 11.40. Subsequently, prices surged further, reaching Tk 11.90 to Tk 12.30 per piece between August 7 and 11, causing retail prices to escalate to Tk 14 to Tk 15.
Despite the government’s imposition of a maximum retail price of Tk 12 per egg, groceries and traders in Dhaka kitchen market said that the item is still being sold for Tk 13 to Tk 14 each (equivalent to Tk 155 to Tk 165 per dozen) in retail.
The egg market exhibited its greatest volatility from August 9 to 15 this year, with prices soaring to Tk 175 to Tk 180 per dozen, a substantial increase from Tk 145 to Tk 150 per dozen in July.
In response to the market fluctuations, both the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Fisheries & Livestock held a meeting on August 13. The fisheries ministry set a maximum rate of Tk 12, taking into account an average production cost of Tk 10.5 per egg.
On August 14, DNCRP organised a meeting involving all stakeholders linked to the egg market.
At the meeting, DNCRP Director General AHM Shafiquzzaman announced that the directorate would initiate a drive from August 16 to enforce an MRP of Tk 12. Major egg companies and city wholesalers also gave consent to the directorate.
Since August 16, DNCRP has been conducting regular market drives, including data collection from major poultry farms.
Contacted, DNCRP Director General AHM Shafiquzzaman told the FE that they had mandated all parties in the egg market to preserve trading vouchers. He said companies were instructed to reduce prices to a reasonable level so that the MRP stabilises at Tk 12.
But the prices at farm gates remained unchanged from August 14, the date of the DNCRP meeting with egg traders and companies, he said.
Meanwhile, despite several attempts on Wednesday through phone calls, FE was unable to obtain immediate comments from the five companies on this matter.
At an event on Wednesday, the Bangladesh Poultry Association, in collaboration with the Tejgaon and Kaptan Bazar Egg Traders Associations, called for an MRP of Tk 13 for eggs instead of Tk 12.
They based this demand on the average production cost of Tk 10.79 per egg for small-scale farmers.
The association’s Secretary Suman Hawlader said the production cost for marginal farmers is significantly higher than that for integrated corporations. The minimum cost for an egg for small farmers is Tk 10.79, and farmers should sell it with a minimum profit margin of 15 per cent, thereby setting the maximum retail price at Tk 13 per piece.
He added that prominent companies should establish reasonable rates for day-old chicks and feed, which could contribute to reducing the prices of both chicken and eggs.
Hawlader said the oligopoly of leading corporations primarily contributes to the volatility in the poultry market.