As consumers scramble, Israel targets increased egg supply

The agriculture and finance ministries said they have taken the "exceptional" move to persuade shipping companies to change their routes for greater and faster imports.

Eggs are prepared to be boxed on a James Potter free range farm that produces eggs for Asda supermarkets, in Catton, northern England (photo credit: REUTERS)
Eggs are prepared to be boxed on a James Potter free range farm that produces eggs for Asda supermarkets, in Catton, northern England
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Every year as Passover nears, consumers scramble to purchase a sufficient supply of eggs.
On average, demand increases some 20% ahead of the holiday. This year, in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, the clamor for eggs has reached a boiling point as shoppers have stripped supermarket shelves bare.
Responding to the shortage, the Agriculture Ministry on Monday announced it will increase its quota for duty-free imports an additional 100 million eggs.
To ensure the eggs arrive prior to Passover and compete with increasing demand in other countries, the agriculture and finance ministries said they have taken the exceptional move to persuade shipping companies to change their routes, enabling both greater and faster imports.
“It was found that the most effective solution, which makes it highly likely that eggs will arrive in Israel before Passover, is to change the routes of ships already planning to bring eggs to Israel, in collaboration with the relevant shipping companies, and loading double the number of eggs on board,” the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement.
Eggs (Photo Credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)Eggs (Photo Credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
The ministry said it will also work to expedite the unloading process of all ships carrying meat and dairy products.
While Israeli citizens often take advantage of the holiday to travel abroad, remaining at home this year has led to greater demand for fresh produce of all types.
Following a request from the Agriculture Ministry, the Water Authority said it would temporarily, and immediately, increase freshwater quotas for the agriculture sector by 70 million cubic meters (mcm), reaching a total of 396 mcm. Quotas will also be enlarged for farmers in the North dependent on water from Lake Kinneret and additional sources in the Upper Galilee.
“At times when the world operates as normal, a shortage of domestic production is usually complemented by imports into Israel,” said Dr. Assaf Levy, head of the Agriculture Ministry’s factors of production division.
“Unfortunately, demand for food is increasing in almost all countries dealing with the coronavirus pandemic,” he said. “Our request to increase quotas was based on the crisis derived from the coronavirus.
“We will also emphasize this to farmers and make clear they should not base their plans on this supplement in future years, and new plantations should not be based on it either,” Levy said.