Egg prices rise following avian flu outbreak
By Jade Arroyo
The egg is one of the most basic foodstuffs in the everyday diet of a Mexican. According to the Mexican sanitation authority SENASICA (National Service of Sanity, Safety and Agro-food Quality), on June 21 the avian flu H7N3 was detected and reported at three poultry farms in Jalisco. Subsequently, eggs became scarcer in the stores and their price rose, affecting the budgets of many who rely on this staple as a protein source.
According to records from the UNA (National Union of Aviculturists), the price increase happened for two reasons: eight million birds infected with the avian flu H7N3 in Tepatitlán and Acatic, municipalities of Jalisco state, had to be sacrificed, and the price of corn and soy used to feed the hens increased 40 percent.
The SNIM (National System for Market Information), part of the SE (Economic Secretariat), revealed that in some places in Mexico the price of eggs went up 50 percent; in San Miguel, the price in several stores rose from 31 to 35 pesos a kilo. Shop owners said that the sales of eggs have fallen 30 to 50 percent. In a poultry shop located at Colegio 15 (where the price per kilo is 33 pesos), the owner commented that some customers buy only three or four eggs for breakfast, instead of buying a kilo.
According to the Latin-American CNN website, the increase in the price of eggs and other agricultural products has caused inflation to exceed that expected for this year by Banxico (Bank of Mexico), and analysts had to change the projections for the end of this year.
At a press conference about the current situation of the rise in egg prices, the national head of the Economic Secretariat, Bruno Ferrari, said that Mexico has sold eggs cheaply for a long time because they did not have to be imported. Ferrari exhorted people to substitute this foodstuff with another protein until the prices lower and asked consumers to denounce price gouging to the Profeco at www.profeco.com.mx.
Ferrari said also that the department is willing not to charge import fees on eggs if the situation does not improve soon. “If necessary we will not assess the fees, because it can’t be allowed that because of just a few there are 115 million Mexicans paying these prices for eggs,” he said. The UNA is in favor of the measures taken by the authorities to stabilize the price of eggs on the national market.
According to the UNA, Mexico is the world’s fifth-largest egg producer, at 2.55 million tons a year, and is the main consumer of eggs in the world, an average of 22.4 kilos of eggs per person a year. Jalisco produces 50 percent of the national demand for eggs and has 90 million birds. Egg production in Jalisco brings in 37 billion pesos, and together with poultry production brings in 90 billion pesos. Poultry products make up 0.8 percent of the entire PIB (Producto Interno Bruto, gross domestic product), 23 percent of all agricultural products and over 40 percent of all livestock products.