Kolkata, Oct 3 (PTI) After onion and potato, eggs, another kitchen staple, became dearer in West Bengal due to a shortage in supply and rising demand, and consumers may not get respite soon from soaring prices of the poultry product with upcoming festive season, traders said on Saturday.
Retail price has shot up to Rs 7 apiece, while branded eggs are sold over Rs 10 per unit, they said.
'Consumers, who had shunned poultry products due to the scare of coronavirus earlier, are now consuming eggs to meet their nutritional requirement in the fight against the virus. This has led to a rise in demand,' traders in the city said.
Retail egg prices had soared by nearly 60 per cent in the last six months from about Rs 4 apiece in April and May, and it has gone up by about 20 per cent in September mainly due to supply shortages, they said.
'I am selling eggs at Rs 7 apiece now, while I had sold at Rs 4 per unit in April,' a grocery store owner said.
Prices of branded eggs in large format stores have increased to over Rs 10 per piece, while brown and other speciality ones are sold at higher prices.
'About 25 per cent of birds had been culled before time in the initial months of the lockdown due to disruption in feed supply and labour issues.
'Given the shortage in supply, price may rise further and is likely to stay firm at least for another three months,' Saguna south Bengal head Balaji R told PTI.
About 2.7-2.8 crore eggs are consumed daily in West Bengal, while the per-day production stands at 1.8 crore.
Arambagh Hatcheries managing director Prasun Kr Roy said poultry industry has lost around Rs 50,000 crore due to the pandemic.
'Both eggs and poultry meat prices are ruling high due to early culling of birds on a large scale. It will take time to normalise production and supply,' he said.
With hotels and restaurants resuming their operations, demand for eggs has been increasing and will rise further during the festive season, an official of the West Bengal Poultry Federation said. PTI BSM BDC BDC