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Worsening bird flu sees egg prices skyrocket

August 29, 2012

Egg prices continue to rise with the avian flu outbreak in Jalisco having now claimed the lives of over 10 million livestock.

Nine weeks after the outbreak began, the H7N3 virus is now responsible for the death of 43.6 percent of chickens in the municipalities of Tepatitlan and Acatic in Los Altos de Jalisco. Of the 25 million poultry in the region, 10.9 million have died, Mexico’s animal health agency (SENASICA) reported this week.

Some 88 million vaccines have already been distributed in the first phase of vaccination, with another 90 million doses set to be given out in the second phase this week. SENASICA is also restocking the affected farms with five million chicks.

Mexico is the world’s number one consumer of eggs per capita, while Jalisco topped national egg production last year. Producing 1.25 million tons of eggs, the state acounted for just over half of the national total of 2.45 million tons.

As a result of the current crisis, exports have dropped to less than half of what they were nine weeks ago, revealed Cesar de Anda Molina, vice president of the International Egg Commission.

“We’re trying to avoid a shortage by giving priority to areas that must have produce,” De Anda said of the cancellation of exports to destinations such as Hong Kong, Africa, Dubai and Kuwait, in order to prioritize egg consumption in Mexico.

In order to bring in more produce, the Mexican government is dropping the 45-percent tariff on egg imports, Economic Secretary Bruno Ferrari announced on Wednesday.

“So far the first 400 tons of eggs have entered Mexico from the United States in order to lower prices,” he said.

Ferrari also warned that those found guilty of raising prices unnecessarily could face jail time. After examining 9,548 egg-selling establishments the Federal Consumer Protection Agency (Profeco) found 1,299 irregularities, he said.

The price of eggs in Guadalajara has now soared to 34 pesos per kilo, double the price of 16 to 18 pesos reported at the beginning of 2011 by El Universal. The price of chicken has also risen to between 36 and 39 pesos per kilo, according to a survey by Milenio newspaper.

On average, in the first two weeks of July, egg prices were up 21.5 percent on the same period last year. In the following fortnight, prices remained 17 percent higher than in 2011.

“Right now there are no eggs, we even took a poll in grocery stores and about 40 percent of grocery stores have no product to sell,” said Victor Guillermo Hernandez Perez, president of the National Association of Grocery Stores.

Inflation on the rise

A University of Guadalajara (UdG) study last week revealed inflation reached 4.18 percent in the metropolitan zone in the first half of the year.

This was significantly higher than the inflation of 2.10 percent and then 2.88 percent estimated by the Banco de Mexico in the previous two six-month periods.

According to UdG investigator Hector Luis del Toro Chavez, who carried out the study, an average family would require a monthly income of 14,536.80 pesos (eight times the minimum wage of 1,817.10 pesos per month) to cover basic costs of living in Guadalajara.

Of 121 consumer products checked in the UdG survey, 103 had gone up in price. Of these, 55 percent had risen by more than the average of 4.18 percent. Aside from eggs, beef, fish, poultry, legumes and chilis are the items that have increased the most.

Metro debt up 82 percent

Debt in the eight municipalities that make up the Guadalajara metropolitan area has almost doubled to 6.38 billion pesos in the last two-and-a-half years. This represents a rise of 82 percent from 3.5 billion pesos when the last mayoral administrations began in 2010.

Put another way, total municipal debt in 2010 was equivalent to 790 pesos per person living in the metropolitan area. It now works out at 1,439 pesos for each inhabitant.

Guadalajara and Tonala have the highest debt per capita, respectively averaging 1,792 and 1,646 pesos of debt per inhabitant.

The most significant rise came in Tlajomulco, where debt shot up by 206 percent from 172.3 million pesos in 2009 to 527.6 million pesos in 2012.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 3, 2012 14:46

    Let me tell you, last weekend I went to visit my uncle in Tecate, Mexico which is a border town just east of TiJuana. My uncle said Mexican border agents just a week or two ago handed out new regulations as to what could be brought across the Mexican border. #1 was no more eggs from the U.S. My uncle had noted the rise in egg prices. THe other change was that one couldnt bring more than a particular size of milk (i cant recall what size, but it was less than a gallon). But of course my uncle said, screw that and continues to sneak in stuff. I dont know if this will change, but now with the egg shortage it makes sense.


  1. Egg crisis subsides, bird flu controlled « The Tequila Files

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