As egg producers consider an increase in the price of local eggs, the Cabinet is threatening to allow the importation of the commodity once again.
Reportedly, on-island producers are reporting a drop in their profits as a consequence of the price increases in fuel, feed and other inputs.
At the moment, Antigua and Barbuda is self-sufficient in egg production, and this has resulted in the banning of imported eggs from the market.
However, the Executive warns that “should the egg producers increase their prices to consumers, the Cabinet is of the view that imported eggs will become more affordable to large egg consumers like hotels and supermarkets, and to households.”
Therefore, the Administration says it is unwilling to keep the ban on imported eggs if it would mean an increase in the cost of living, since “many consumers have chosen eggs as a source of inexpensive animal protein, and a part of many breakfasts.”
While the Cabinet acknowledges the increased costs that local egg producers face, it implores them to keep their prices competitive, so that imports do not displace them in the market.
Meanwhile, the services of cost accountant – acceptable to both the egg producers and the Government – will be procured to determine the cost of producing a dozen eggs and the price for which the dozen is sold.
It was noted that until this study is completed, the egg producers should hold off on any change in prices.
Last September, there was a price hike for local eggs when the cost of feed increased. The wholesale price went up to $10 per dozen, or $300 a case, for both white and brown eggs.
The egg farmers association explained, then, that the increase was to ensure they were able to meet their financial obligations and to continue their excellent service of supplying fresh, locally produced eggs year-round.
Further, the association said it had been absorbing price increases in all inputs to ensure that consumers received stable prices.