(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Saudi Arabia's ban on the export of poultry products recently is triggering a severe shortage of eggs in the local market with both retailers and consumers saying they fear the prices might soar.
The short supplies are a result of the Saudi government imposing a blanket ban on the export of poultry products due to the upcoming Haj season, market sources said.
"In the past, Saudi government only imposed restrictions on poultry export but this year it is a total ban and that is causing shortages," a wholesaler said on grounds of anonymity.
Retail prices of the Saudi Al Wataniya eggs that are quite popular here have soared to QR19.50 per tray (30 eggs) after its wholesale rates jumped to QR226 for a carton (360 eggs).
"We don't have Al Wataniya stocks any more and supplies have also been stopped by exporters," said an official at a wholesale agency. Saudi eggs are said to have a market share of around 60 to 70 percent in Qatar so the shortages are inevitable, market sources said. But retailers said egg prices might not soar in a repeat of early 2009 when bird flu scare saw poultry imports considerably down, as the Consumer Protection Department (CPD) might intervene.
The CPD, when contacted, refused comment. "We need permission from the Minister of Business and Trade to interact with the media," said the director of the Department.
Egg prices had soared up to QR25 a tray in 2009 with poultry producers in Qatar saying at the time they would be increasing their production to meet the growing local demand with the state's active support. More than three years hence almost a similar crisis is about to brew. "Where are those promises of meeting local demand by increasing production with the government made three years ago," asked a retailer.