Philippine agriculture

First onions, now eggs: Omelet inflation crisis hounds Philippines

Ralf Rivas

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First onions, now eggs: Omelet inflation crisis hounds Philippines

FILE PHOTO. Sari-sari store owners 'Mar' left and 'Nanay' plan for the days ahead as fewer customers shop at the public market.

John Sitchon

Eggs, among the cheapest sources of protein for the Filipino everyman, are now priced as high as P8.70 apiece, representing a 45% increase

MANILA, Philippines– Egg prices in the Philippines have gone up by 45% due to a domino effect of inflationary pressures from other goods and may have damaging effects on Filipinos’ nutrition.

Department of Agriculture (DA) data showed that eggs, among the cheapest sources of protein, now retail between P6.90 to P8.70 per piece, higher than the P6 during the same period a year ago.

Gregorio San Diego, chair of the United Broilers Raisers Association, attributed the increase to higher feed costs. Producers typically spend P5 per chicken for feeds. Now, feed prices are up as high as P19.

San Diego added that the egg industry is on its low side of production after producers suffered losses back in the last quarter of 2021.

These egg producers were once hog raisers affected by the spread of African swine fever.

“‘Let’s just shift to eggs, we don’t have to compete with imports,’ said the farmers. Imported egg products are only egg powder and frozen egg for industrial users. But some oversupply happened and forced them to lower prices,” San Diego said in a media forum on Wednesday, January 11.

San Diego said that retailers typically add just a few centavos on the farmgate price, currently at around P6.70 to P7.20 per piece. Eggs nearing the P10-mark shows that retailers are increasing their margins.

“You can’t blame the sellers in the market because they need to feed their families. Electricity prices are up, they need the income for those expenses,” he said.

“We fear that this year, demand for eggs might go down due to increasing prices of non-food items. To an extent, you can endure hunger, but a household with no electricity or water is harder to bear.”

Food crisis

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who concurrently acts as agriculture secretary, has faced inflation woes since the start of his leadership.

Before eggs, sugar and onion prices have gone through the roof.

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Marcos recently approved the importation of onions to anchor prices, but industry leaders and some lawmakers said that the president acted late.

By the time onion imports arrive, prices would have gone down already due to the incoming harvest of local farmers.

With the price increase of onions and eggs, poor Filipinos now struggle whipping up an omelet or dining the comfort food staple tapsilog. –

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.