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El Niño shrinks egg sizes

MANILA, Philippines — There is an oversupply of small eggs as sizes shrink amid the impact of El Niño, the Philippine Egg Board Association said yesterday.

Chicken layers are eating less due to the sweltering heat, affecting the production of large and extra-large eggs, PEBA president Francis Uyehara said in a radio interview.

“The effect of El Niño is felt by all farm producers, most especially in the northern part of the country,” Uyehara noted.

Egg producers reported a big mortality of chicken layers due to heat stroke, he added.

“The hot temperature has affected the feed consumption of our chickens. As a result, our production dropped and there was a significant decrease in the sizes. There was an imbalance in the sizes, more small-sized eggs were produced compared to big sizes,” he explained.

The production of big eggs has dropped between two and five percent, he said.

“This is big if it will be based on per piece because this is for the entire country,” he noted.

There is a low demand for eggs, he said.

“The consumption of our consumers dropped as there are no big occasions and the school classes are irregular, so not many eat eggs,” he explained.

The farmgate price of small eggs dropped between P4.50 and P5.40 per piece, Uyehara said.

“Since late January, the farmgate price of eggs dropped after the holiday. Until now, the decrease in the farmgate price persists,” he added.

Egg producers are hoping the farmgate price of eggs will stabilize this month until May, he said.

Based on the Department of Agriculture (DA)’s monitoring, the retail price of medium-sized eggs in Metro Manila ranged between P6 and P8.50 per piece.

Meanwhile, the DA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should resolve the issue of the bird flu vaccine, Uyehara said.

“We are continuously communicating with the DA. The processing (of the vaccine against bird flu) is complicated as it is not only the DA who has the authority, it also the FDA. Unfortunately, these are two different agencies. This complicates and delays the process as they do not jibe with the process,” he added.

The poultry industry is positive that the issue between the two agencies will be resolved, he noted.