Ande Ka Funda: Why Qatar is buying more eggs from Tamil Nadu this World Cup

There’s ‘egg’cellent news for India from Qatar. Amid the FIFA World Cup 2022, the host nation has turned to Tamil Nadu to fulfil the growing demand for eggs. Those from Turkey, its major supplier, are more expensive than India’s Namakkal variety

FP Explainers November 24, 2022 12:30:54 IST
Ande Ka Funda: Why Qatar is buying more eggs from Tamil Nadu this World Cup

Qatar, which is hosting FIFA World Cup 2022, is importing more eggs from India. Tamil Nadu's Namakkal district has emerged as the main supplier. Representational picture/AFP

India is not playing the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, but it is making a difference off the field. The host nation is turning to India for exports of eggs. Tamil Nadu, which is a hub of egg production, is playing a big part, as the Namakkal district has emerged as the main supplier to Qatar. Amid the football tournament, there has been a two-fold increase in exports.

How much is the rise in exports?

There is an increase in demand for eggs in Qatar as it hosts 32 football teams and around 1.2 million fans. The number of eggs supplied from Namakkal to the Arab nation has gone up to 2.5 crore from less than a crore a month.

“Normally, we export less than 10 million eggs [one crore] monthly to Qatar. But in the last two months, the demand has increased to between 20 to 25 million [two to 2.5 crore] eggs monthly because of the World Cup,” K Singaraj, Tamil Nadu Poultry Farmers’ Association president, told Hindustan Times.

Ande Ka Funda Why Qatar is buying more eggs from Tamil Nadu this World Cup

Graphic: Pranay Bhardwaj

Why is Qatar banking on Tamil Nadu?

Ukraine and Turkey are the main suppliers of eggs to Gulf nations. However, as the war with Russia continues, the supply from Ukraine has been hit.

For Qatar, the primary supplier is Turkey. However, the exporter has increased the prices of eggs because the production cost has gone up.

India, which was a minor player, until now has stepped in. According to Singaraj, a carton, consisting of 360 eggs, is exported from India for $29 to $30 (anywhere between Rs 2,370 to Rs 2,451). Turkey sells a box for costs $36 (Rs 2,942). “So buying Namakkal eggs leads to a saving of six dollars (Rs 490 per box). As the FIFA World Cup started in Qatar, the demand for eggs also increased there,” he added.

Also read: FIFA World Cup: Fixtures | Results | Points Table | Squads | Records

How is Namakkal meeting the demand?

A big chunk of egg exports from India comes from Namakkal. Tamil Nadu is home to around 1,100 poultry farms of which 700 are located in and around the district.

India produces around 30 crore of eggs a day of which 4.5 crore come from Namakkal. The eggs weigh between 48 to 52 grammes and have a shelf life of three months. They are delivered to Qatar through ships that set sail from Thoothukudi or Chennai ports in Tamil Nadu.

Ande Ka Funda Why Qatar is buying more eggs from Tamil Nadu this World Cup

Qatar is seeing an increase in demand for eggs as it hosts 32 football teams and around 1.2 million fans for FIFA World Cup 2022. AFP

Have egg exports increased to other nations?

Yes, they have and this comes as a relief to India’s poultry farmers. Not just Qatar, exports to other Gulf countries like Oman and the United Arab Emirates have also increased.

Oman is the biggest market for eggs from Namakkal. “In November alone, we will export anywhere between 80 to 100 million [eight to 10 crore eggs],” Singara told Hindustan Times.

This is great news for India as there has been a drop in exports in recent years. Until about five to six years ago, export to the Gulf nations was promising. However, after a bird flu outbreak in several Indian states and the COVID-19 pandemic, the business took a beating. How exports have recovered to some extent and before the World Cup they had reached three crore a month. Now, the demand has spiked even more.

Ande Ka Funda Why Qatar is buying more eggs from Tamil Nadu this World Cup

The number of eggs supplied from Namakkal to Qatar has gone up to 2.5 crore from less than a crore a month. Representational picture/AFP

How will the increase in exports affect the Indian market?

The rise in exports is likely to impact the domestic market. In Namakkal, the price of one egg was fixed at Rs 5.35 earlier in the week. It is expected to reach Rs 6 per egg very soon. This will result in the retail price going up.

As of now, retail prices range anywhere between Rs 5.50 to Rs 7 per egg in different parts of the country. “The production cost has increased from Rs 4.50 per egg to Rs 4.75. Unless they get a price of at least Rs 5 throughout the year, it is not viable for the farmers,’’ K G Anand, head of Venkateshwara Hatcheries in Andhra Pradesh, another major egg-producing state told Moneycontrol.

Some states are already feeling the pinch. With a rise in demand for Namakkal, the prices of eggs in Kerala have already gone up. “From Rs 4.50 an egg a month ago, it has reached Rs 5.70 now. This is likely to persist for some weeks as it is not easy to ramp up production at short notice,” said CJ George, president, Kerala Egg Dealers Association.

With inputs from agencies

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