Board allots B50m to egg farmers
With pandemic panic-buying largely disappearing, the government looks set to rev up egg exports to help boost domestic prices.
Whichai Phochanakij, director-general of the Internal Trade Department, said on Wednesday the Egg Board agreed on Tuesday to provide 50 million baht allocated from the farmers' assistance fund to support farmers, traders and exporters with management costs such as packing, transport, and egg grading, at a rate of 50 satang per egg between June 1 and Nov 30.
The move aims to help relieve farmers and traders' hardships as egg prices slumped after the Covid-19 panic purchases faded.
Thailand's egg production is 41-42 million eggs per day, while domestic consumption is around 38-39 million eggs per day.
Mongkol Pipatsatayawong, president of the Association of Hen Egg Farmers Traders and Exporters, said domestic prices started falling once the government threatened in late March stern penalties for egg price gouging and enacted a ban on egg exports until the end of April to ensure a sufficient supply for domestic consumption.
Ex-farm prices of eggs are now quoted at 2.40 baht apiece, down 40 satang from 2.80 baht during normal periods before the outbreak.
The current retail prices are lower than farmers' production cost, which averages 2.70 baht per egg, he said.
Mr Mongkol said although the Commerce Ministry allowed egg exports from early May, they have yet to recover as key importers such as Hong Kong and Singapore shifted to buy from other countries, leaving a glut of up 100 million eggs in the domestic market.
"All operators felt a direct impact from the state's tighter export measures," he said. "Farmers have also had to shoulder high farm management costs because of dry and relatively high temperatures."
In addition, restaurants are not allowed to be fully open and hotels remain closed as tourists are scarce, while schools are shuttered.
Mr Whichai said his department will help distribute 15 million eggs through Thong Fah (Blue Flag) low-priced shops and Thong Fah programmes nationwide over the next two months.
Higher exports and the department's assistance are expected to help boost the domestic prices to about 2.8-3 baht.
The department also pledges to closely monitor the price situation, especially for No.3 eggs, which is a popular size among consumers. If prices are found to be higher than the recommended price of three baht per egg, the department plans to come up with measures to prevent any impact on consumers, he said.
Mr Whichai said the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry and Livestock Development Department are expected to talk later with all stakeholders about whether to reduce the number of egg hens in farms to lower supply.