TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan is experiencing a rare shortage of chicken eggs that may not ease until April, according to the agricultural authorities.
Consumers in northern Taiwan have been complaining about empty egg shelves at retailers, and strained supplies have seen the price of the protein source soar. According to China Times, the price has been hiked to NT$35 (US$1.26) per catty (台斤, 0.6 kg) from NT$24 before the pandemic.
A daily shortfall of 1.2 million eggs is being reported as nationwide demand averages 23.6 million eggs per day, said Agriculture and Food Agency Director-General Hu Jong-i (胡忠一).
The authorities are taking measures to address the scarcity of the staple. A total of 600,000 eggs will be imported from Australia and the U.S. every week, while some of northern Taiwan's need will be met by eggs from the south, CNA quoted Hu as saying.
Multiple factors are behind the shortage, including the slump in demand last year during the Level 3 COVID-19 alert that discouraged breeders from replenishing their stocks of chicks. Recent cold fronts and avian flu outbreaks have further exacerbated instability in the supply of eggs.
The Council of Agriculture expects the problem to be alleviated within a few months, possible as early as the end of March, after newly obtained chicks are old enough to lay eggs.