On the shortage of eggs on the market, Brito said that this happens during the period from March to May. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)
The production of eggs in Seychelles has been steadily increasing during the last 10 years but there are special conditions during the period of March to May, highly marked in April, that heavily affect egg production, especially this year.
An agricultural officer in Seychelles, Jose Raul de Oca Brito, told SNA that there are many factors interacting together and leading to these results.
“The increasing demand for the product is the main reason; this is directly associated with the fact that egg production has not to compete with any importation.”
He explained that “this has motivated more farmers to venture into the business while others have increased the production capacity. We ended 2022 with 37 registered egg producers and the commercial laying hens population is estimated as 184,763 birds in April with a daily average production of 2.4 million eggs.”
Brito said that the second element which is considered paramount is that during the last years, new commercial laying hens have been introduced in the country, by importation, with a much better potential for production and performing very well under Seychelles conditions.
Although the importation of highly commercial laying hens has guaranteed a stable egg production in the country, it comes paired with some constraints, among them being the transportation challenge.
“A good poultry herd position is only achieved when replacements are evenly distributed throughout the year, and this is not happening. This said we agreed that a distortion on the replacement cycle affects production and then price,” said Brito.
On the shortage of eggs on the market, he said that this happens during the period March to May and is related to the weather condition.
“April is a very tranquil month as the winds drop and during the afternoon temperatures get very hot, reaching an average high of 31-32 degrees. This limits feed intake in chickens in a way for them to balance body temperature; leading by default to a drop in production. This causes production to drop 10-15 percent in farms with standard management for open house systems.”
Consequently, farmers will always give priority to clients under contract like hotels, and companies like the Indian Ocean Tuna where demand is very high.
This can result in an increase in the price of eggs on the local market as has been the case for the past few weeks from SCR2.50 ($0.19) per egg to around SCR4.00 ($0.30) at the shopping outlets.
“When there is a drop in production, the local market (retailers) is more demanding and the price is increased. The price for eggs is not in relation to the cost of production since the subsidy scheme in place guarantees a very good profit margin for egg producers,” Brito told SNA.