Parliamentarian Nimal Lanza on Friday said that officials should think of the 22 million consumers without allowing the egg mafia consisting of four or five persons to prevail in the country. Speaking at the Committee on Public Enterprises in Parliament, Lanza said that the Director of the Department of Animal Production and Health had informed the Food Security Committee that the production cost of an egg is Rs. 58.
“The Consumer Affairs Authority issued a Gazette notification stipulating a control price for eggs. However, based on this report issued by the Department of Animal Production and Health, the Court lifted the control price on eggs stipulated by the Consumer Affairs Authority.
Lanza asked as to how the production cost of an egg was calculated by the Department at the COPE Committee which met under the Chairmanship of Parliamentarian Professor Rajith Bandara. He said that the Consumer Affairs Authority imposed a controlled price on eggs with an objective of protecting the consumers as the few individuals involved in the egg mafia wanted to increase egg prices in an unprecedented manner.
Lanza said that the CAA always consults the Department of Animal Production and Health before taking such a decision.The Parliamentarian exposed the double standards of the Department at the COPE Committee.
He said that the Department had informed the Food Security Committee that egg prices can be reduced when imported eggs are available in the country.He said that if the intention of imposing a control price for eggs is to protect the consumers and small scale poultry farmers, more profits should go to the small scale poultry farmers.
“The officials urge not to spend foreign exchange to import eggs. But we are importing soy maize and other animals by spending foreign exchange,” Lanza said.
Lanza said that the report submitted by the Department of Animal Production and Health states that eggs are received for the school meal programme.He asked whether the school meal programme received eggs at Rs. 40 each.
The Parliamentarian told the COPE Committee that the Department opposes whenever the Government tries to impose a controlled price and provide relief to the customers.“The Department is also against the move to import eggs and provide relief to the customers,” he said.The Department’s Director General says that the people should adapt to dry fish and fish.
“People cannot eat fish or dry fish as prices are very high. Eggs are the only source of protein for the low income groups,” he said.
He said that the Department cannot determine what people and children should eat.The Parliamentarian said that when the Government tries to import eggs from India, the Department is trying to stop it citing that India has bird fluBut India provided eggs to Qatar where FIFA World Cup was held. Thousands of fans, businessmen, sportsmen gathered in Qatar during FIFA and they were served Indian eggs,” he said.