Farmers blame 50% monthly hike in maize price, poultry closures for current increase in egg prices

Story highlights

  • Retail egg prices have increased by 25% in the past three weeks, while farm-gate prices have seen a rise of about 17%.
  • Farmers and traders attribute the increase to scarcity following significant closures of poultry farms in the country and also to a renewed increase in the prices of maize and soya, ingredients used in poultry feed production.
  • Food prices have generally increased across the country in the past year due to the depreciation of the naira and a rise in transport costs.
  • The increase in egg prices could negatively affect the pastry industry, which is also experiencing similar stress from high input prices.

In the past few weeks, there has been a noticeable uptick in the price of eggs across the country. A simple survey of egg prices per crate in the last three weeks reveals an increase of around 17% in one month at Farmgate.

Currently, an egg retails for N200 in June from N150 a month prior- this represents a 25% increase in the retail price in just one month.

Causes of the recent hike in egg prices

Most traders attributed the increase to scarcity stating there are not enough eggs being produced currently.

The allegation of scarcity due to the closure of poultry farms mirrors a similar statement by the Chairman of the Lagos State Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) earlier in the year stating that around 50% of poultry farmers in the country have shut down due to rise in input prices.

Mr. Samuel Adebayo, a poultry farmer in Ogun state confirmed the allegation of a drop in production stating that most smallholder poultry farmers have closed shop due to the high cost of inputs.

Also, the current Secretary of PAN, Ogun state, Mr. Temitayo Oguntola did not rule out scarcity being responsible for the hike but acknowledged the increase in inputs especially feeds. He said, “I attended a conference recently and according to the presentation, the poultry industry has contracted by 23% in the last year.”

Speaking to Nairametrics, Ms. Isioma Blessing, a poultry farmer and former Chairperson of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Ogun state chapter confirmed the price increase saying the farmgate price of a crate of eggs has increased in the past three weeks.

She said, “In April and even in May, we were selling a crate of egg around N3,000 and N3,300 but currently we sell around N3,800 and N4,000”

However, she disagreed with the idea that the current hike in prices was due to scarcity. The scarcity resulting from the closure of poultry farms accounts for approximately 15% of the current hike in egg prices.

Ms. Blessing explained that a tonne of maize, which sold for N550,000 in April and early May now sells for N820,000—an almost 50% increase in one month. Additionally, soybean, another key ingredient in poultry feed, now sells for N720,000 per tonne, up from N600,000 a month ago.

She said, “The foreign exchange situation affected the cost of input and that’s why we are seeing price increase. Even something as little as the vaccine for the birds that we buy around N960 per 1000-dose increased to N3,000 the last time I bought it. I am currently placing an order now and it is N6,750.”

Increase in poultry input prices

Ever since the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) unified the foreign exchange market as part of its reforms in June 2023, the naira has weakened from N474/$ to around N1,500. This has increased the cost of imports, contributing to inflation.

Year-on-year, the prices of maize, soya beans, and other inputs in poultry feed production have nearly doubled. The NBS food price survey in April reveals a year-on-year increase of around 130% for 1 kg of maize from April 2023 to April 2024.

The spike in food inflation also stems from the significant increase in transport costs following the removal of the fuel subsidy and the near 100% year-on-year increase in diesel prices across the country.

Renewed increase in food prices

It is noteworthy that the spike in egg prices is not an isolated case but extends across various food products. Month-on-month, the prices of beans increased by a whopping 17% between March and April 2024, have been a 100% increase in the prices of staple foods across the country.

Despite projections earlier in the year that inflation would begin to decelerate in the second quarter, this has yet to materialise as there seems to be a renewed price increase across different commodities. This is reflected in the recent rise in food prices.

What this means

The increase in egg prices is poised to affect not just individuals but businesses especially the baking industry which is under stress from high input cost. Nairametrics earlier reported a 100% increase in the input cost of bread and other food items in the pastry business leading to significant closures of bakeries across the country.

The increase in the price of eggs- a critical protein source could further worsen the spate of malnutrition especially in children across the country. In 2024, around 11 million children in Nigeria face malnutrition making them more susceptible to wasting according to the latest UNICEF report.

Enews Nigeria