Eggs are the only food that Seychelles is not importing, and there are three main reasons why an agricultural ministry official said.
"Importation is sometimes based on if you can get a competitive price on the goods you are importing. As the price remains relatively low, obviously this will discourage anyone from importing if they can't compete with the low price on the market," the principal secretary of agriculture, Antoine Moustache, told SNA.
The average cost of an egg goes up to $0.2 (SCR 3), dropping down to half the price depending on the number of sellers available in the market at the time of sale.
Moustache said that even if there are shortages on the local market, it doesn't last long as sellers will always have it back on time on the market.
With the continuous availability, egg provides no demand for importation and the principal secretary said that another factor is that it is difficult to transport eggs from overseas as they damage easily.
As the ministry of Agriculture is working on new plans and developments in the various agricultural sectors, Moustache said the authorities are working laboriously to get the country to be self-sufficient in other areas such as meat production.
Seychelles Cabinet of Ministers approved a National Livestock policy for the period 2017 to 2027 on Wednesday, August 23 to strengthen the institutional framework for better service delivery, reinforce capacities along the livestock value chains and improve production, productivity and competitiveness of the livestock sector.
The senior livestock officer of the Seychelles Agricultural Agency, Alejandra Hoareau, said while consumption of poultry product has increased in Seychelles in the last decade, only egg production is in line with the demand.
According to the Seychelles Agricultural Agency, 29 farmers are listed as egg producers but only 23 are active. Six have stop production since they could not cope with high production costs.
From the 29 egg producers listed in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, six are producing on a large scale and their production might be estimated at over 22 million eggs for the current year.
The figures of 2015 showed that Seychelles produced around 29 million eggs and that increased to 37 million in 2016.
A poultry farm owner, Cliff Loizeau, from Bel Ombre, a northern Mahe district is producing eggs on a large scale and told SNA,"We have about 25,000 laying hens producing 500 trays of eggs per day."
He added that "although the farm can collect up to $44,600 (SCR600,000) per month, a significant part of the revenue is reinvested in the operating costs such as transportation and animal feed."
Another poultry farm owner of eight years, Cyril Roucou, told SNA that the industry faces a major challenge in employing local workers and it is a tough and expensive industry to manage.
The Seychelles Agricultural Agency shares the concern and feels that more must be done to protect and develop this sector.
"The government should come up with a protection policy for that sector since small farmers are not in a position to withstand the new scenario," said Hoareau senior livestock officer.
When it comes to egg production, the senior livestock officer said that even though the overall output is positive there are necessities to be addressed.
Hoareau said, "Farmers are asked to invest in new technologies to make production more competitive thereof more accessible to consumers in term of price and quality."
Looking ahead, Hoareau said, "We are challenged to provide the national market with 70 percent of local-produced poultry meat and to continue with a stable egg production, there needs to be updated technology and infrastructure."