Egg Shortage in Yerevan Amid New Year Preparations

Armenia - Empty egg-boxes lined up in an open-air food rmarket, Yerevan, 28Dec2010

Armenia - Empty egg-boxes lined up in an open-air food rmarket, Yerevan, 28Dec2010

No eggs were to be found in a dozen of groceries, supermarkets and food markets in Yerevan today, as families dashed out to buy food preparing for the traditional New Year feast.

In my local Erebuni food-market he price of eggs jumped up to 100 drams a piece (the usual price is 50-60 drams), but I couldn’t get my hands on it, nevertheless. A lady in front of my que paid 2000 drams for the 20 remaining. All I got is this crappy mobile photo-shot.

Half an hour later, someone bought the last box of eggs before me in SAS Supermarket in another part of the city, on central Amiryan street. The shop’s category manager said they received eggs 3 times that day, and every time it took 20-30 minutes to sell it off.

Fresh supermarket on Mashtots avenue and Star on Amiryan street were out of eggs too. I started to despair having spent 4 hours driving around town and checking various shops and markets.

My wife used her time more effectively – asked for help from neighbors, talked to the local grocery. By the time I got home she had bought more than enough eggs: a neighbor brought a dozen for us, the grocer hid under stall a dozen for us. So that’s settled for now.

Killing Egg Produces

The usual egg price over the past 3-4 years has been 35-40 drams per piece ($ 0.10-12 US). There used to be a number of medium and large egg producing companies, like Lusakert, Yerevan Bird Factory, Araks, Arzni, Ecco, Ashtarak Eggs. There are also the small village farms.

The situation changed sharply this summer, influenced by two factors.

Firstly, the price of fodder went up, because of bad harvest: too much rain in spring and very dry summer.

Secondly, the big egg producers waged a price war: egg price went down to 10-15 drams for about a month.

The price dumping, coupled with increased food prices forced smaller producers out of the market, some of them sold plants to the big guys, others found no other solution than to kill the livestock.

The issue with price dumping was referred to the State Commission for the Protection of Economic Competition, the body responsible for taking action against such developments in the market. The body said at the time, they “were studying the market” but they saw no indication of any wrongdoing and claimed, that the egg market in Armenia is “competitieve.”

Back to USSR

There is a tradition of laying out a big table on New Year’s eve, with all kinds of Armenian dishes. The table stays there for 3-5 days. Friends, relatives visit each others houses, enjoy each hospitality, share New Year wishes.

Lot’s of food and drinks are the main characteristic of the New Year table, which means, families spend a considerable amount of money buying up food and preparing for the celebrations.

Eggs are used in all sorts of Armenian food – they go into salads, pastry. So its no wonder, that the egg market, which now has become centralized, wasn’t able to meet the demand.

Last year at the same period of time I had no problem at all buying eggs! This year – I spent the whole day looking for them. This summer eggs were 15 drams, today they’re flying off market for 100 drams a piece.

There is more to it, however.

At the start of December, when the remaining large egg-producers saw they can’t meet the market demand, they sought to raise the prices for eggs. Price went up by 10-15 drams, and eggs which were sold for 45-50 were now traded at 60-65.

Noting the price hike, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan commanded the egg producers, owner of “Araks” and “Yerevan Paultry” Khachatur Khachatryan and owner of “Lusakert” factory Khachik Manukyan, to make sure the price of the eggs doesn’t go any further and threatening to take action.

The result is – Soviet-style shortage of eggs.

The issue of eggs can be solved one way or another, tomorrow, if not today.

However, I see a bigger problem – the authorities are trying to regulate the market first by helping their allies gain monopolies, than forcing them to stick to certain price ranges. This smells and sounds very much like the Soviet Union’s centralized and command-driven economy. And that, has been going on for some time already. A similar situation exists in fuel-import market, cooking oil, sugar, flour, and even imports of computers and mobile phones. And the list is rapidly expanding…

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6 thoughts on “Egg Shortage in Yerevan Amid New Year Preparations

  1. հաշվի առնելով, որ միայն City-ում կարելիա գտնել ձու՝ կարլի է ենթադրություններ անել, թե ուր են ձվերն անհետացել․․․

  2. wow, they cant even provide something simple as eggs and keep prices affordable. there is no ex-soviet anything. soviet union is still very much alive, all putin & yeltsin did was change the name from soviet to russian federation. of course they will monopolize it, that is how they enslave us… monopolization a key component to ruling the masses. in usa eggs are sold by per dozen for $2-3 depending on part of country, as high as $5-8 for organic roam-free chicken egss. @ 100 dr. per egg x 12 = 1200 dr. ($3.30 usd) so now you paying same price as in north america. also, you wasted your time & money driving around for 4 hours looking for something as simple as eggs, when you could’ve called the market to ask: dzver uneq dzer mot? also, leave it to the wife to always do things properly

    I’m sure this will come to WONDERFUL news for all of you who hate me so much for posting my truths & reality about everything…so, I will have to retire from posting my comments on this blog. I am finally bankrupt and can not afford to keep my internet on, as well as my cell phone. 2 essential necessities for me in this world of technology we all are enslaved to. so therefore any of you who have wished for me to die & wither away or begged observer to block me from posting my truthful & honest commentaries, well your wish came true in time for the holidays & new year….apreq, lav eq arel ha ! I will miss to read observers blogs and post my neurotic yet very truthful-honest commentary. I enjoyed it these past 4 months while it lasted (I was reading & commenting since Sept. 2010). so, thank you to observer for allowing me to post my comments, allowing 90% of them to be viewed by the readers, and tolerating me for a bit…I appreciate it very much !

    I will leave this question to ponder in your very shallow, shady, yet fragile minds. hate & discrimination takes all of you a long way, I wonder how it would take you if you show some love & respect towards your fellow Armenians & Armenia? If we all decided to unite rather than hate & discriminate each other causing a very severe tear between all of us, then maybe we would be more of alike towards each other than different. those of us who are in love with being Armenian, in love with his-her Hayastan (genuinely of course not farcely), in love with true genuine Armenian culture & heritage (not turkish arab persian or russian), in love with wanting the best for the Armenian nation as a collective, in love with wanting to move forward and not live in 1915 24 hours/day, in love with love & respect not your god dam greed & corruption, in love with each other as an Armenian (not your god dam money & good looks), in love with accepting each other instead of rejecting because of lifestyle or class, then I believe we can make ourselves better and become the great Armenian ppl we once used to be looooooooooooong time ago or for the 1st time, I dont know !

    I bid you all adieu
    Hajoxutyun
    Kecceh mer Hayastan-Arstakh u sax mer angin Hayutyun

    • Andranik,

      Sorry to hear about your difficult financial situation. Please let me know if there’s anything I can help with. You know my private email.

      Just wanted to wish you a wonderful New Year – one with more luck and success.

  3. Good to know, that this didn’t go unpunished for big egg-producers. Following December 2010 egg shortage, major egg-producer Lusakert company was fined 100 mln drams at the end of March. The State regulator has also launched inquiries into business practices of other large egg producers. Hopefully, they’ll be fined too.

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