WA egg producers cracking under feed costs

Zach RelphCountryman
Egg producers plan to table a petition in Parliament.
Camera IconEgg producers plan to table a petition in Parliament. Credit: Simon Santi

The State’s egg industry is lobbying politicians to help producers struggling with high feed costs and falling returns, spurred by the giant supermarkets pricing war.

At yesterday’s Agribusiness Australia event in Perth, Commercial Egg Producers Association of WA president Ian Wilson was set to reveal a petition would be tabled in State Parliament next year aiming to examine the sector.

The Fremantle Egg Company boss said Nationals WA agricultural spokesman Colin de Grussa intended to present the petition to the Legislative Council early next year.

Mr Wilson told Countryman WA egg farmers were grappling with high feed costs sent skyward by the ongoing Eastern States drought of up to $550 a tonne.

He said the rising production costs were hurting producers’ bottom lines, with the Coles-Woolworths supermarket war driving egg prices down.

“Since the deregulation of the WA egg industry in 2005, returns have been eroded significantly,” he said

Commercial Egg Producers Association of WA president Ian Wilson.
Camera IconCommercial Egg Producers Association of WA president Ian Wilson. Credit: Simon Santi

“The high feed costs have really impacted in the industry in the past 12 months and been the catalyst for us to speak up.

“We need to make a statement and stand up for ourselves.”

Mr Wilson cited a lack of industry consultation in Coles’ decision to cease the sale of cage eggs in WA and claims major supermarket price increases had not been passed on to egg producers.

He said the petition would ask the Legislative Council to examine:

Egg shortages in WA supermarkets.

Egg pricing decisions in WA.

The ability of suppliers to renegotiate prices when impacted by seasonal events such as drought.

Supermarket auditing and traceability processes and standards to ensure consumers are getting what they pay for.

Clarification on the support measures major supermarkets would provide to help commercial egg producers potentially expand free-range egg production systems.

Earlier this year, Mr Wilson savaged Coles’ move to stop selling caged eggs in WA ahead of the company’s commitment to stock only cage-free eggs by 2023.

Coles stopped selling caged eggs in WA from March 1 and has replaced its home brand caged eggs with home brand cage-free eggs.

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