Instead of acting like headless chickens over eggs, Indians should worry about vegetables

Image: Reuters/Arko Datta
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Indians are losing their minds over the price of eggs—because they’re more expensive than chicken.

In Mumbai, for instance, a kilogram of broiler chicken costs Rs57/kg ($0.88) as on Nov. 11 (the latest data available). A dozen eggs, meanwhile, cost Rs69.84

Why this strange chicken-and-egg situation? Blame it on the greens. “When vegetables turn costly, people switch to eggs, pushing up its rates as well. This is simple substitution effect,” Raju Bhosale, executive member of the National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC), told the Indian Express newspaper.

Vegetable prices have shot through the roof lately. In November, the prices of items like tomatoes and onions—found in most Indian kitchens—have jumped by 200% and 400%, respectively, from a year ago. Egg prices have risen by over 50% in the same period. 

Here are some charts to help you digest this data:

Unseasonal rains and supply disruptions have pushed up vegetable prices in recent months. In fact, it is this basket of commodities, along with fuel prices, that has pushed up consumer price inflation lately. In October, it inched up to a seven-month high of 3.58%.

In August, the Reserve Bank of India, which closely monitors inflation in order to determine the policy rates, anticipated a rise in retail inflation in the second half of this financial year to between 3.5% and 4.5% from between 2% and 3.5% in the first half.

So, instead of crying over eggs, India needs to focus on bringing affordable vegetables back to the markets.