Sunday, June 4, 2023

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Sri Lanka imports Indian eggs to combat monopoly hits a hitch

By: Staff Writer

Colombo (LNW): Imported eggs from India have begun to appear in Sri Lankan markets priced at 35 rupees per egg although initially intended for use only in the cake and biscuit industry, later these eggs became available to consumers as well, official sources said.

Importing eggs from India were intended to address a shortage of local eggs and to provide consumers with eggs at a more affordable price at a time when local eggs are sold at higher prices.

According to sources the decision to import eggs from India was made to break the monopoly of local egg producers

Due to the bird flu epidemic there are concerns regarding marketing the imported Indian eggs, but Namakkal Egg Producers Association President K. Mohan assured that the bird flu guidelines were being strictly followed.

When Nalin Fernando was Sathosa Chairman in 2012, eggs were imported from India and now he is spearheading the task of importing eggs from India as the Minister of Trade raising questions of conflict of interests.

The import of liquid eggs without a proper inspection poses a serious health risk, as they may contain salmonella bacteria, officials claimed.

The imported Indian eggs were brought from the Namakkal region in Tamil Nadu, where the bird flu epidemic has been severe since October 2022, according to news appearing in the Indian Express website.

The Indian state produces around 60 million eggs daily, but due to the bird flu epidemic, the eggs have become unmarketable. Major poultry farm producers in Tamil Nadu requested the Central Government to find quick solutions to control the spread of bird flu.

According to the Indian Express website Namakkal Egg Producers Association President K. Mohan had assured that the bird flu guidelines were being strictly followed in Namakkal farms.

He had maintained that hens in Namakkal do not get infected with bird flu very often. However, bird flu outbreaks in other parts of India have an impact on poultry farms resulting in a decrease in egg exports.

The website underscores that egg producers have requested the Indian Central Government to declare Namakkal as a bird flu-free egg production zone.

It is possible that the import of Indian eggs was an attempt to show the world that bird flu does not exist in India.

As per the initial statement by the Director General of the Department of Animal Production and Health, Dr. Hemali Kotalawala, the import of Indian eggs was prohibited due to the bird flu epidemic in India. However, she also clarified that there was no issue with importing eggs from other countries except India.

She stated that due to the recent bird flu epidemic in India, the necessary recommendations cannot be given to the Import and Export Controller General regarding the import of eggs.

However, later on, the authorities announced that the import of Indian eggs would be permitted with certain safety measures in place. Indian eggs were eventually imported to Sri Lanka. Furthermore, there are plans to import liquid eggs as well.

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