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Johannesburg – The price of eggs is set to increase by between 7 and 8 percent in the short-term.

This is according to the South African Poultry Association, and is because of a current shortage, it says.

The association says the past year was very challenging for farmers, with feed price increasing by at least R1 000 a tonne between January and August last year because of the recent drought.

SAPA says, at the same time, between January and April 2016, the egg prices dropped substantially as a result of excess eggs on the market.

This dual blow meant farmers battled to cope, and couldn’t recover losses, leading to the exit of many of the small scale farmers, those with between 5 000 and 40 000 hen capacity. Some of the farmers depleted their flocks early moving the average depletion age from 74.8 weeks in 2015 to 71.8 weeks in 2016.

This, it says, means there is now a shortage of eggs.

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It says higher egg prices due to the shortage will persist until at least the second half of 2017 while farmers attempt to increase their production to meet the market demand.