Staff Correspondent: Egg merchants say higher rates set by corporate firms in the sector are partly to blame for the recent hike in the prices of the product, one of the main sources of protein in Bangladesh.
The traders raised the issue in a meeting hosted by the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection or DNCRP in Dhaka.
The directorate said it would now sit with the companies involved in corporate farming.
One of the companies has refuted the claim that they were behind the price hike. An official of the company said a rise in fuel oil prices earlier in August disrupted supply as goods transportation was halted.
Kazi Farms, CP Bangladesh, Paragon, Aftab Bahumukhi Farms, Bangladesh Hatchery and some other companies produce eggs and supply to the markets through their dealers.
The merchants collect eggs from small farms across the country and sell those to wholesalers and retailers at egg trade hubs, such as those in Dhaka’s Tejgaon, Mirpur and Gulistan.
Over the past week, the price of eggs per dozen, produced in poultry farms, across the country, increased to Tk 150 from Tk 110. The price of broiler chicken increased to Tk 200 from Tk 140 per kg.
The DNCRP swung into action immediately as they identified manipulations by several wholesalers for the skyrocketing prices. As a result, from Friday, the prices of eggs suddenly went down by Tk 30 per dozen and broiler chicken by Tk 20.
Farmers have blamed the “machinations of middlemen” and “supply-demand mismatch due to disruption in the supply chain” for the sudden price spiral of eggs and chicken.
Merchants say higher rates set by corporate firms led to recent egg price hike
The Bangladesh Poultry Industries Central Council said in a statement also referred to its own investigation that blamed the disruption of the supply chain on the government’s decision of raising the fuel prices to a historic high level.
In Sunday’s meeting, Mohammad Amanat Ullah, president of the egg merchants’ association in Tejgaon, said they get Tk 20 as commission per 100 eggs. The prices are set considering the condition of the market and usually the traders follow the rates at which the dealers of the corporate firms supply eggs.
For example, he said, the price of 100 eggs in Tejgaon was Tk 1,140 on Aug 12, but Kazi Farms’ dealer was selling at Tk 1,200. “Many [small] farmers ask us why they are being paid less than the companies are. Basically, we had to raise the prices because the prices of company products are high.
He admitted a supply-demand mismatch also affected the prices.
Mohammad Hanif Mia, the association’s general secretary, said, “We fix the prices after watching the markets in different districts. The corporate firms sell feed, eggs and chicks. How will we survive if they do all the business?”
He alleged the companies supply weak chicks to the small farmers and keep the strong ones for themselves.
“We sell at a rate of Tk 900 at night, and hear in the morning that Kazi’s rate was Tk 950 and CP’s was Tk 940. Farmers then send text messages alleging that we are depriving them of fair price.”
AHM Shafiquzzaman, director general of the DNCRP, said they launched the process to sit with the companies. “We’ll hold another meeting if necessary because we did not have experience with the egg market.”
Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu, a vice-president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said they called a meeting of the egg traders, including the big companies, on Monday. “It appears that the retailers are suffering the most.”
Kazi Zahin Hasan, a director of Kazi Farms and president of the Breeders’ Association, said the fuel price rise led to a temporary halt on goods transport, creating a supply-demand gap which ultimately caused egg prices to rise.
“Some quarters are blaming Kazi Farms for that which is not correct. We are explaining the issue to the government agencies.”
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