Price of US eggs in Bahamas jumping
US eggs, which are being imported and promoted as a
specialty product, will cost more with each shipment.
In mid-January, the price of carton of eggs at the wholesale rate was a
US$1.17 dozen. Ten days later, the price jumped to US$1.32.When freight, duty
(17%) and other handling charges are added, the price landed in the Bahamas is
US$51.69 per case (30 dozen). The control price, on the other hand, is US$42.30,
a differential of US$9.39, almost US$10 more.
This past weekend some supermarkets were experiencing egg shortages,
particularly those outlets which use US eggs to supplement the domestic supply.
The price of US eggs had jumped to US$63.00 per case, putting them at US$21.00
above the control price. Bahamian eggs from local producers are holding steady
at the moment because they fall under the price control mechanism.
The poultry industry has been hit by high feed costs. The reason for these
high feeds is the competition between the poultry agribusiness and burgeoning
ethanol industry for corn. Generally corn prices are around US$2 plus per
bushel; however, the ethanol industry is prepared to pay as much as US$6 per
bushel and still remain competitive.
Bahamians are already complaining about high food prices. This is the
situation which eggs project and highlight our dilemma as a food deficit
country. The table egg is the only commodity in which the Bahamas enjoys at a
comfortable level of food security and a high degree of self-sufficiency.
months now, food importers have been undermining this agribusiness by importing
a product which they have promoted as a specialty item, thereby taking market
share from local producers and destabilizing their operations.
With the high US prices, local food wholesalers and retailers are scurrying
around and pressuring growers to supply them with product. It will be
interesting to know whether the Departments of Consumer Affairs and Agriculture
respectively are monitoring these market conditions.
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