The Agricultural Ministry opened a quota for egg imports that are exempt from customs duties from the European Union in January. In light of the coronavirus crisis, the ministry increased the customs-exempt quota for egg distributors to encompass some 100 million eggs. But in light of the increased local demand in these countries, and because of the difficulties of transporting shipments and shipment times, the distributors are not able to import enough eggs to meet the increasing demand of consumers.
The Agriculture Ministry is following departure and arrival times of shipments of eggs from abroad, and sees that the amount of time it takes is not solving the shortage on the market triggered by increased demand. From queries made to egg distributors, and especially those who distribute imported eggs, it is apparent that many containers of eggs will enter Israel only after Erev Pesach, mostly because of the transport limitations to Israel and the late departure of the ships from their points of origin. Therefore, the Agriculture Ministry has decided, together with the Finance Ministry, in an exceptional move, to work to alter the routes (by omitting stopovers) of the ships that are heading towards Israel, so that they should arrive quicker and bring more eggs, in order to ease the shortage.
According to the Agriculture Ministry, after considering the alternatives, it was decided that the most effective solution that will most likely bring the eggs to Israel before Erev Pesach is changing the routes of the ships that are scheduled to arrive in Israel. The goal is to work with the shipping companies, and when possible to load double the quantity of eggs onto the ships.
Likewise, the government ministries are working together on various fronts to unload these ships as quickly as possible when they do arrive.
Other steps that the Agriculture Ministry has taken in order to facilitate larger deliveries of eggs to Israel are:
- Rapid approval of another country so that eggs can be imported from there.
- In cooperation with the Finance Ministry, implementing the “Safety Net for Egg Imports” policy in order to incentivize importers to bring more eggs to Israel.
The Agriculture Ministry itself does not import any products, including eggs. Rather, it works to enable continuous supply to citizens. Therefore, when the ministry discerns that there is a shortage of a certain product, which local production cannot provide (like with eggs, now), the ministry creates tools and incentives for importers to make up the shortfall.
The ministry wishes to thank the various government ministries working with it on these initiatives, and the efforts of the shipping companies and egg importers. The ministry hopes that these efforts will increase the supply of eggs to Israeli consumers. On the other hand, the ministry hopes that the Israeli consumers will purchase the number of eggs they actually need, and not more, thus easing the shortage.