Egg producers are aiming to increase per-capita egg consumption in the country by engaging in a marketing campaign.
"In the [Southeast Asian] region, we are one of the lowest in egg consumption because in the Philippines, when you say egg it is only [in relation] to breakfast," Gregorio A. San Diego, Jr., president of the National Federation of Egg Producers of the Philippines, said during the First Egg Farmers Assembly held earlier this month.
Business World reports that per capita egg consumption in the country (94) is much lower than Thailand (145) and Malaysia (305) and even the US (257), he added.
Eggs are an inexpensive and reliable source of protein, vitamin A, riboflavin, folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12, choline, iron, calcium, phosphorus and potassium.
However, the popularity of eggs has been erratic due to its high cholesterol content.
Funding for ad campaign
The Egg Board, an umbrella association of poultry stakeholders, is planning to collect five to 10 centavos for every layer sold to local farmers to fund an egg promotions campaign. At five centavos per layer sold to farmers, the Egg Board expects to collect some 5.1 million pesos (PHP).
In March, the Egg Board pegged imports of layers this year to 360,000 birds, up from 350,000 last year but down from the record-high import of 442,326 layers in 2007, which resulted in oversupply.
Egg production, which accounted for 2.39 per cent of total agriculture output, rose by 4.67 per cent to 350,770 metric tons worth PHP 10.056 billion last year from 335,110 metric tons worth PHP 9.607 billion in 2007, according to data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS).
"There is an increasing population so there are more people who might eat eggs.
"There is a high chance that per capita consumption will increase," Mr San Diego said. "[But] one of the challenges we see is the distorted market.
"The complaint of consumers is that egg prices are high in the retail market but farm-gate prices are low," he said, adding that the PHP 3.69 tag in the farm goes up to as high as PHP 4.30 to 4.50 per egg in the markets.
Agriculture undersecretary, Jesus Emmanuel M. Paras, commented that egg prices usually slip when there is a surplus in supply.
Link between eggs and corn
Despite this, the country cannot export eggs to its Southeast Asian neighbors because of the high production cost involved, Mr. San Diego told Business World.
"From what we see, Thailand has the advantage not only in the supply of corn but also in the electricity which costs half of that in the country," he added.
"Our corn production was affected last year. We are looking for solutions to increase corn production to meet the requirements [of the poultry and livestock sector]," Mr Paras said.
In a crop production forecast by the BAS, the first half corn production is expected to slip by 2.45 per cent to 3.21 million metric tons year-on-year as harvest area and yield might drop by 0.47 per cent and 1.98 per cent, respectively, according to Business World.
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