Demand for chicken eggs in Thailand has significantly increased during the pandemic as more people stay and work from home, opening the egg market to profiteering.
Thailand’s Internal Trade Department has warned egg vendors who hoard and sell chicken eggs at unreasonable retail prices , will face punishment of fines and ultimately jail.
Mr Wattanasak Sur-iam, director-general of the department, said demand for eggs has significantly increased during the pandemic as more people stay at home for work. In addition, charity groups are buying eggs in large quantities directly from farms for food donations.
However, he said some vendors are using this opportunity for price gouging.
Ex-farm prices of eggs in mixed sizes are now quoted at an average of 3 baht each, up from 2.50-2.70 baht in January.
Mr Wattanasak said hoarding is an offence under Section 29 of the Price of Goods and Services Act. Violators can face up to seven years in jail or a fine of up to 140,000 baht, or both.
He said if people find any hoarding of goods or price gouging, please inform the department’s hotline at 1569 or inform provincial commerce officers in any province. The authorities can investigate immediately and take legal action, said Mr Wattanasak.
He said the Internal Trade Department discussed measures to help consumers during the pandemic with the Livestock Development Department and related stakeholders including chicken egg raisers, traders and exporters on Aug 5.
The Livestock Development Department has already taken measures, allowing farmers to extend the life of laying hens from standing cages from 75 weeks to 85-90 weeks, which should increase the number of eggs in the market to 42 million per day, up from 40 million.
Since the severe outbreak started in April 2020, four egg trade associations agreed to maintain the price of assorted chicken eggs in front of farms at a ceiling of 3 baht per egg. The department asked egg farmers to freeze ex-farm prices to keep retail prices stable, Mr Wattanasak said.
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