Local egg producers on Wednesday reiterated their reasons for raising prices a day after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. questioned why prices for the commodity have surged despite ample supply in the market.
Increasing transport and fuel costs and losses due to overproduction and avian influenza or bird flu are among those reasons, Philippine Egg Board Chairman Gregorio San Diego said after Mr. Marcos sought an explanation for the “wide gap” between the farmgate and retail prices of eggs.
“Those who get eggs from the farm, especially if the farm is far away, of course oil prices have increased, same with other expenses like the toll fees also have an impact. During transport, if some eggs break, I think that is factored in, too,” San Diego said in Filipino in a television interview.
Egg producers previously said the rise in feed prices as well as bird flu culling have caused a drop in egg production.
Asked if egg prices may increase further, San Diego said: “That depends on the economy. That’s because we can’t store eggs, because they will rot. So, prices will only increase up to the level that people can buy them.”
Several egg producers with limited capital suspended their operations after suffering losses due to overproduction last year, San Diego also noted, as inventory exceeded the demand even as fuel and feed prices climbed.
“If we overproduce, we lose a lot of money… So a lot of farms, small and medium producers stopped their operation, the big ones reduced their volume,” San Diego told ANC.
“Those who don’t have capital are now scared to invest. First is there’s a disease going on, second is the (feed) prices,” he said. “They don’t want to go into (the poultry) business anymore, while others are wait and see if the situation will stabilize before diving in again.”
San Diego said there is a vaccine against bird flu but it needs to be approved by the Department of Agriculture, after which the agency would recommend the vaccine be imported.
He said the DA should also produce data to help match the egg production with the demand.
“The problem here really is there is no data. We have been asking the Department of Agriculture to do a database on chicken, eggs, because our production is not matching the demand,” the Egg Board chief added.
Mr. Marcos, who also heads the DA as its concurrent secretary, issued the order to Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban during a Cabinet meeting.
“We determined that the increase in the price of eggs is not commensurate to the increase in production cost,” the President said.
“So, we will have to have a look to see how to control that because we cannot explain almost one-half of the profit margin that we are seeing. We cannot attribute it to cost,” Mr. Marcos said.
Based on the DA’s price watch as of Jan. 13, medium-sized eggs retail at P9 each, compared to P6.90 in December 2022.
The DA said eggs should just retail between P7 and P7.50 per piece, given its farm gate prices. Reports show that eggs are being sold as high as P9.60 per piece.
To address the situation, the DA earlier reconvened the Price and Volume Watch Committee and Advisory Groups for Livestock and Poultry to closely watch the prices of eggs across the country.