The government is planning to continue importing eggs until the end of this year to make up for shortages, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said on Friday.
Taiwanese consume 23.6 million to 24 million eggs per day, while daily production in the past few weeks was 22.2 million, the council said.
An import program to address the egg shortage would continue until Dec. 31, it added.
Manufacturers of processed food products are permitted to import eggs, including liquid and boiled eggs, COA minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said, adding that the imported eggs would be subject to the same food safety standards as domestically produced ones.
Eggs from China and Vietnam cannot be imported, as the countries use poultry vaccines that are not permitted in Taiwan, he added.
The council would also work with egg farmers to increase production, including by importing 300,000 to 500,000 egg-laying hens this year, Chen said.
The council also provides two-year interest-free loans to farmers seeking to upgrade open-air chicken coops to roofed facilities that allow for better temperature regulation, he added.
Even though Taiwan’s avian flu situation has been brought under control and farmers have ramped up breeding efforts, effects on egg production would take time to manifest, he said.
However, egg production should begin to stabilize in May or June, he said.
The council originally estimated that egg output would stabilize this month, but cold weather depressed production, he said.
Lin Tien-lai (林天來), who heads an egg producers’ association in Taipei, said he supports the council’s import program.
However, as imported eggs would be used for processed food production, it would not affect consumer egg prices, he said.
Even though the measure would increase the number of eggs available, it would mostly lead to more hoarding, he said.
Separately, Chen said that wholesale prices of duck eggs have risen due to higher feed costs, calling it an effect of market forces.
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