Public image key egg factor
The boss of a peak egg research body says understanding community expectations is critical in underpinning the longevity of the nation’s $1.8 billion egg sector.
Australian Eggs released its industry sustainability framework last month in a bid to improve public engagement and guide industry development.
The report, co-ordinated with CSIRO, identified priority issues for the sector to address, including minimising food safety risk and achieving high animal welfare standards.
With Australians eating about 245 eggs a person annually, according to its findings, Australian Eggs managing director Rowan McMonnies said the industry needed to take a proactive approach to maintaining a positive image.
“There is a clear trend that the community is taking a greater interest in where their food comes from... as an industry we need to choose how we will respond to that,” he said.
“The report has allowed us to identify the issues that the community is most interested in.
“Social issues including environment and animal welfare are really important to the community and are becoming more important — that’s the space we need to engage with the community about.”
There are 22 million laying hens nationwide, producing about 17 million eggs daily for Australia’s 277 egg farming enterprises.
WA hosts 11 per cent of Australia’s flock.
However, the State’s egg producers are raising concerns about their longevity in the wake of heightened feed prices amplified by the Eastern States’ severe drought.
Australian Eggs found feed grain had increased from about $250 a tonne to more than $500 a tonne on the back of the dry conditions which ravaged New South Wales and Queensland.
Mr McMonnies said there was “grave concern” surrounding the drought’s impact on WA egg producers but community consultation was essential to airing producers’ difficulties to prompt change.
Meanwhile, One Nation senator Peter Georgiou vented concern the major supermarkets’ volatile pricing war was impeding egg producers.
Senator Georgiou said more action was needed to help WA egg farmers.
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