Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit capped the price of chicken eggs and meat to “protect” consumers, passing on the pain to farmers facing rising costs.
Jurin on Tuesday ordered the Department of Internal Trade to enforce the price controls, saying the ministry did not allow the prices of chicken eggs and meat to rise and greedy sellers would face tough legal penalties.
However, Jurin said that affected sellers could submit their request for a price increase with detailed reasons for verification on a case-by-case basis. That was to protect small-scaled farmers and prevent shortages, he said.
He ordered the Department of Internal Trade to monitor the prices of chicken meat and eggs to protect the consumers who were already affected by rising pork prices.
The farm price of chicken eggs rose from 2.8 baht to 3 baht a unit on Monday due to farmers’ rising costs, according to the Layer Farmer Association.
President Manot Chuthapthim said costs have continuously increased because feed prices were going up and weren’t seem declining in the near future. The costs of medicine for chicken and management were also rising, he said.
In November, the Egg Board had estimated the production cost of chicken eggs at 2.87 baht a unit. The association had tried to cap the price at 2.8 baht for as long as possible and finally could not afford to do so any longer, Manot said.
However, he said consumers should not worry because the Egg Board set the ceiling for the farm price of chicken eggs at 20% above the estimated production cost, or 3.44 baht an egg. Actual prices now will not reach that level due to the government’s artificial price controls.