ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Thai poultry issues
But the task is a costly and a time-consuming investment that might not be accomplished in a decade, according to experts.
The advice is among several suggestions prepared by an advisory team from Kasetsart University hired by the Committee for the Development of Layer Chicken and Products and the Egg Board to improve the industry and the board.
"Though the investment is feasible, I wonder if locally developed parent stock will produce eggs competitively," said Mongkol Pipatsattayanuwong, the president of the Association of Hen-Egg Farmers, Traders and Exporters.
Current productivity is not competitive with an average of 290 eggs from each hen compared to 320-330 eggs from hens in more developed countries, he said.
Egg production is estimated from the 405,700 parent stock (PS) layers Thailand planned to import this year. The birds are expected to yield 37 million layers to hatch 10.8 billion eggs.
Most imported PS layers are from the Netherlands, Germany, France, England and the US, where investment and technology development have been ongoing for years, said Mr Mongkol.
Developing a local breed is a long-term plan and the research team encouraged the government to make the issue a national agenda item.
Short-term plans include restructuring the PS layer import system to allow chances for small farmers to form groups to import birds, expand egg product lines and broaden export markets for fresh eggs and egg products.
It also suggests the 19-member Egg Board have more small farmers' representatives. Currently there is only one, a farm co-operative in Chon Buri.
The board, chaired by Agriculture Minister Theera Wongsamut, ordered a study to restructure the egg industry after domestic egg prices rose to about five baht apiece in July, double from a month before.
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