There will be a surge in the price of eggs due to a significant increase in production costs, and consumers are cautioned to brace for the price changes. Mark Campbell, president of the Jamaica Egg Farmers Association, issued the advisory, noting that global markets are also experiencing a price hike.
According to Cambell, who spoke to the Jamaica Observer, customers in the United States who initially paid $2.50 for a dozen eggs are now paying between $6.50 and $9. Campbell explained that while farmers in the US have been able to adapt to this change, the same cannot be said for Jamaica.
He identified multiple factors contributing to the price increase, which included the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the failure of some farmers to recover from the full impact of COVID-19, and logistical challenges in the US. However, the primary factor is the growing expenses of the egg farmers, which resulted in the production of fewer eggs.
He noted that 75% of farmers’ expenses were buying the chickens and the feed. To put it into perspective, Campbell clarifies that only 20-25% of production costs go towards paying workers, bills, maintenance, medication, and egg delivery. The remaining 75-80% is dedicated to feeding and caring for the fowls.
The head of the local egg farmers’ association predicted that the price of eggs might have to go up by 30% for farmers to make enough money to stay in business.
While he added that there was not an egg shortage at the moment, the country was experiencing a “tightness,” meaning that production time was slower than the speed of the demand. “It is heading towards a tightness. We don’t describe it yet as a shortage, we describe it as a tightness in the market,” Campbell explained.
He added that the situation is currently being addressed by adding more birds to the farms but highlighted that the matter would not be solved if the farmers were still not making enough money.
Campbell told the Jamaica Observer that he was optimistic about things taking a positive turn, given that there was an expected 10% increase in poulets (360,000 new layers) in the market by August.
COVID-19 led to increased consumption of eggs because farmers were forced to sell the eggs at a significantly low cost, but now the production cost has risen, and farmers can not afford to sell the eggs for less money anymore. The farmers are now being advised to replace non-performing birds to contribute to the increase in egg supply.
“We have a tightness in the market but between now and August, 360,000 new layers will be added to the national flock. Now the national flock is just over a million, so 360,000 is about 30 per cent of it. So that is going to put a significant amount of eggs into the system. So although it is tight now, it us going to be short-lived because who are able to afford it, can now replace non-performing birds,” Campbell stated.