Indian eggs roll in amid protest
Eggs imported from India have entered Bangladesh, amid widespread protests from local poultry operators.
The first shipment -- two truckloads of Indian eggs -- arrived at Benapole Land Port on Thursday.
Customs officials said a Dhaka-based export-import company, GM Enterprise, imported the eggs, which are waiting to be released from port.
Each of the 2,99,880 eggs imported in the first shipment has been priced at Tk 2.29 in import costs based on the prices shown by GM Enterprise.
The government has approved a plan to import two crore eggs to cut down the prices that soared to Tk 32 per set of four on the local market.
The decision prompted protests from local poultry farmers. They slammed the government for taking a "self-contradictory" stance on allowing egg imports from a country affected by avian influenza: India.
“The government has shifted from its early stand against allowing imports of eggs from a bird-flu affected country," Bangladesh Poultry Khamar Rakkha Jatiya Sangram Parishad said in a statement yesterday.
The statement said the imported eggs have been already unloaded at the port.
Parishad referred to a statutory regulatory order issued on August 12, which imposed restrictions on imports of eggs from any country reeling from bird flu.
“But the government has back-peddled on its own decision,” said Parishad.
“We condemn the government's self-contradictory stance,” it said, “Permission to import eggs from India will increase the risk of the spread of bird flu again in the local poultry industry.”
Imported eggs have entered Bangladesh at a time when poultry farmers are offering a set of four eggs (red) for Tk 21.6 in wholesale prices.
“But the government fails to ensure a price below Tk 26 every four pieces at retail level,” Parishad said.
“Now we are calling off our previous decision of selling eggs at low prices to protest the import permission by the government,” it added.
Also, Khulna Poultry Fish Feed Shop Owners' Association yesterday demanded that the government reverse the import decision.
The association also urged consumers to avoid Indian eggs to keep the bird flu disease at bay.
Kazi Mohammad Nurul Islam, president of the association, feared that more than two crore people involved in the industry would lose their jobs.