Why Qatar World Cup is proving eggs-pensive for Christmas cake makers in Kerala

Russia invaded Ukraine. Turkey is witnessing a financial crisis. Qatar is trying to diversify its economy. And Kerala is feeling the pinch!

ByK A Shaji

Published Dec 03, 2022 | 10:00 AMUpdatedDec 03, 2022 | 10:04 AM


Russia invaded Ukraine in February this year, claiming it was a move to root out the Nazi elements from the country.

In June, the rate of year-on-year inflation in Turkey reached more than 75 percent, with food inflation crossing 120 percent. This was thanks to what economists say are disastrous financial policies by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which effectively caused the cost of food items to more than double.

Then, last month, the Fifa World Cup — celebrated and maligned in equal parts — started in Qatar, having been touted as an event that would diversify the country’s oil-and-gas-dependent economy.

The result is that Kerala might experience a less-sweeter Christmas this year, as the cakes could be literally denser, coarser and more fragile!

Costly affair

In most parts of the state, the price of eggs has reached an all-time high of ₹8 apiece.

Wholesale egg dealers of the Chala market in Thiruvananthapuram and the Palayam market in Kozhikode have confirmed that the prices soared after the daily supply from Namakkal in Tamil Nadu decreased alarmingly.


A festival eve roadside egg-selling in Thiruvananthapuram. (South First)

Namakkal is the hub of eggs and poultry in South India, and Kerala traders constitute the most significant buyers.

When contacted, All India Poultry Products Exporters Association president and Namakkal native K Singaraj confirmed to South First that the football World Cup had caused an egg shortage in the local supply, resulting in the escalation of the retail price.

Qatar, which is hosting the quadrennial football event this year, is now importing vast amounts of eggs from Namakkal to meet the sudden surge in demand due to the arrival of football fans from across the globe.

Namakkal poultry farmers, who underwent a difficult phase for various reasons, found it a blessing as they are now receiving higher prices from Qatar than Kerala and other traditional South Indian.

Meanwhile, broiler chicken prices have also risen considerably in the last two weeks in Kerala, with buyers having to pay about ₹25 more per kg.

Also Read: Why Kerala dairies are in tough space at the moment

The export details

Since the World Cup began, Namakkal has been exporting around 20-25 lakh eggs to Qatar per day. Kerala, meanwhile, domestically gets only 40 lakh eggs daily.

Usually, Kerala buys 1.4 crore eggs daily from Namakkal, making the state the largest buyer at the market.

“As supply decreased, prices naturally went up. We have no way at present other than to wait for the end of the World Cup,” D Shine Kumar, assistant director of the Kerala Animal Welfare Department, told South First.

According to Singaraj, the Qatar orders reached the poultry farm owners when increasing fodder prices landed the whole business in crisis. In the last year, production costs increased by nearly 30 percent.

“Before the World Cup, we were exporting 1.5 crore eggs daily. Now, it has increased to 2.5 crore. Higher prices of eggs in Turkey prompted them [the Qatar authorities] to opt for our eggs,” said Singaraj.


Kerala faces severe shoratge of eggs in this festival season. Photo: South First

A total of 1,100 poultry farms are functioning in the Namakkal district, producing 5.5-6 crore eggs daily.

Among these, 1.5-1.75 crore eggs are usually earmarked for Kerala, while 45 lakh eggs go to the noon meal scheme of the Tamil Nadu government for its schools.

Around 40 lakh eggs go to Bengaluru while the rest are circulated in Tamil Nadu and other parts of the country.

The Butterfly Effect

“Turkey used to be the main egg supplier to Qatar. However, the price of Turkey eggs has risen due to increased production costs,” explained Singaraj.

“An egg box (consisting of 360 eggs) from Namakkal is exported to Qatar for $29-30. On the other hand, a box of eggs from Turkey costs $36. So buying Namakkal eggs leads to a saving of $6.”

Pointing out that Ukraine and Turkey constitute the significant egg producers in the world, egg exporter PV Senthil said Ukraine lost its market following the war with Russia. “When Turkey increased the prices, the next available option was Namakkal,” he said.

“Our eggs are high in protein and cheap in cost. This is one of the reasons Qatar decided to import eggs from Namakkal,” he said.

Football players usually consume egg whites for protein.

Also Read: How farmers are battling African land snails in Kerala

Sweet football, bitter batter?

“We all are enjoying the football fever in Kerala. But we feel it undigestable that the football event is causing a price hike in Kerala,” said Priya Kolassery, a prominent Thiruvananthapuram-based chef who runs a catering service.

“For us, eggs are integral in Christmas cake and Christmas feast. Also, eggs constitute a major portion of our diet,” she added.

“It’s a simple sacrifice, and we are taking it in the spirit of sportsmanship. Even while paying a higher price, we feel happy that Indian eggs are boosting the morale of our team in Qatar,” said K Subhash, a Brazil fan from Kozhikode.

After all, eggs make cakes fluffier, softer, and — because they act as a binder — more cohesive and overall smoother in texture.