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Egg prices remain flat despite growing demand

Farmer’s Weekly, May 07, 2015, Luyolo Mkentane

Egg consumption has continued to grow in South Africa, with prices fairly stable in the formal sector, despite considerable cost pressure, according to David Allwright, managing director of The Free Range Chicken Company.

The company, which incorporates the Eikenhof Poultry Farms and manages companies such as Peak Pullets and Klipfontein Organics, produces free-range eggs and has recently started a small organic egg operation, Allwright said.

“In our market sector, sales growth has continued at a steady pace through the year and we’ve continued to expand our flock to cater for our market and accommodate anticipated future growth,” he said. Prices were fairly stable in the formal sector, he said, but there was considerable cost pressure.

Organic eggs were produced for a very small niche market, Allwright said. “Production is led by demand, these eggs being extremely expensive to produce and not being viable if any downgrading of non-organic sectors occurs. One of South Africa’s largest egg producers, Quantum Foods, referred all questions sent to it by Farmer’s Weekly to the SA Poultry Association (Sapa).

The egg consumption rate had “picked up slightly”, according to Sapa CEO Kevin Lovell.

“Prices, however, are unfortunately flat. With the increase in food prices [we anticipate that] over the next six months egg farmers will have a difficult time,” he said.

The organic egg market was very small, and would not affect the overall egg market, according to him.