Thu, Aug 04, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Council of Agriculture censured over egg policy

Staff Writer, with CNA

The Control Yuan yesterday reprimanded the Council of Agriculture (COA) for failing to promote a more efficient system to address imbalances in egg supply and demand in recent years.

The Control Yuan said the council’s failure stemmed from a lack of effective adjustment measures and poor supervision of local governments. The council also failed to meet annual livestock production targets and to administer efficient produce management policies.

Control Yuan members Cheng Jen-hung (程仁宏) and Li Bing-nan (李炳南), who carried out the investigation, said that egg production last year reached 373,000 tonnes, an increase of 4.62 percent from the previous year and 6.8 percent higher than that year’s production target.

They said the council failed to effectively monitor implementation of a price warning system by local governments to ensure stable egg prices. The two said that although the Free Trade Commission (FTC) found that a Taipei egg business association, which dominates egg pricing, did not violate free-trade laws, experts said that more than half of the country’s egg farmers and traders were unhappy with the prevailing pricing system.

The Control Yuan told the council to set up a better pricing system and to build a database to collect information on changes in market demand so that farmers could be better informed of market and sales conditions, thereby reducing overproduction and pricing imbalances.

The average monthly price of eggs plunged to an all-time low last year because of overproduction, with the value of annual egg production falling by 16.3 percent to NT$15.3 billion (US$52.9 million) compared with 2009.

Chen and Li also found that average chicken feed prices rose 45.3 percent between 1993 and last year, further compounding the farmers’ woes.

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