COST OF LIVING/Duck egg prices climb amid shortage of chicken eggs in Taiwan

The farmgate price of duck eggs will rise by NT$5 (US$0.16) per kilogram in Taiwan from Friday, as demand has been growing due to a shortage of chicken eggs, an industry insider said Thursday.

"The price hike of NT$5 per kg will push up the wholesale price of duck eggs to a record high NT$80 per kg," Kao Chuan-mo (???), chairman of an egg sales association, told CNA.

Amid an acute chicken egg shortage in Taiwan, demand for duck eggs has spiked, with the farmgate price surging from NT$71 per kg last April to NT$75 per kg late last month, according to Taiwan agriculture market data.

"It's still too early to say when the supply of chicken eggs will return to normal, despite the government's promise that the shortage will end late this month," Kao said. "If the weather does not improve soon, the chicken egg shortage will continue indefinitely."

Also on Thursday, Willis Cheng (???), chairman of Taiwan meat and animal feed producer Charoen Pokphand Enterprise (Taiwan), said at a quarterly news conference that the chicken egg supply problem in the country is not likely to ease until around the mid-Autumn Festival in late September.

"The chicken egg shortage is a global issue," Cheng said, predicting that egg price hikes will be moderate.

On March 1, Agriculture Minister Chen Chi-chung (???) said the nationwide chicken egg shortage in Taiwan was likely to end by late March, as the government was implementing short- and long-term measures to address the problem.

One of the government initiatives to address the current deficit of 500,000 to 800,000 chicken eggs per day is to import the product from Australia, he said.

According to the Council of Agriculture (COA), some 5 million eggs have been ordered from Australia, and the first batch was delivered on Feb, 28, while the second and third shipments are expected to arrive next week.

Chicken egg production in Taiwan began to decline last December, and it fell to 22.4 million per day in late February, according to COA data. The agency has attributed the decline to avian flu outbreaks and large temperature swings in recent months.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel