Agriculture minister anticipates finish to egg scarcity by late March


Taipei, March 1 (CNA) Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) on Wednesday said he anticipated an end to the national egg shortage in Taiwan by late March, after the government introduced short and long-term measures to address the problem.

“We are working to end the egg shortage problem by the end of this month,” Chen said when answering questions from opposition Kuomintang lawmaker Tseng Ming-chung (曾銘宗) at a legislative hearing.

COA statistics show that daily egg production in Taiwan began to decline in December last year, and fell to 112,000 crates in late February, with each crate containing 200 eggs. The agency has attributed the decline to avian flu infections and large temperature swings in recent months.

 To fill the current daily deficit of 500,000-800,000 eggs, Chen said that up to 5 million eggs will be imported from Australia by the end of March.

They will be first allocated to food processors so they can release their stocks of locally grown eggs to meet domestic consumption, he said, adding that 360,000 Australian eggs — the first shipment of the 5 million ordered eggs — arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday night.

With the weather warming up and the projected release of locally produced eggs, Chen said local demand should be met by the end of this month.

Furthermore, the COA has earmarked NT$1.8 billion (US$60 million) this year to help local poultry farms renovate and modernize their operations — a key measure to achieve full self-sufficiency at home, Chen said, noting that more details will be published on Friday.

The modernization plan forms part of a three-year NT$3.3 billion government program to increase the local poultry industry’s resilience to outbreaks of bird flu amid the impact of global climate change.


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