Liberia: Eggs from India

One egg

Photo by Darwin Bell.

I have written about the logistical challenges in Liberia before, however I was not ready for what I found out today.

We recently bought a carton of egg from the single local store in Sanniquellie. Unfortunately they were all rotten, so when I went back to the store today I asked when they got the eggs on display and explained what happened last time.

The store keeper then explained: “We only got the eggs a few days ago, so they should be fresh. But you know, we get them from Monrovia and Monrovia gets them from India.”

“India. Right”, I said with a smile, certain that he was kidding.

“No. Really, all of these eggs are imported from India. None of them are produced locally.”

“Ok. Thanks, in that case I think I’ll rather buy them from the market”, I replied slightly horrified.

“Sure, but the people at the market are buying them wholesale from us.”

And indeed, when I went to a small market stall selling nothing but two dozen bananas and three dozens of eggs and asked the woman where she had gotten the eggs from, she said: “From the store.”

This completely blows my mind. There are chicken everywhere!!! How can there not be eggs? I understand that it’s really difficult to transport raw eggs safely on these roads, which explains why it’s easier to buy boiled eggs than fresh eggs. But if you can get raw eggs to Sanniquellie from Monrovia, surely you could build an egg farm in Monrovia as well. (Note: this is not an endorsement of the living conditions for chicken in many egg farms)

I realize that a lot of countries imports of cheap, excess food destroys the local market for things – but surely it can be more economical to produce eggs in-country than import them from India!

What are your thoughts? Why do you think this is happening and do you have similar experiences?

 

 

  • Chris Clark

    the problem is that raising chickens is very risky and laden with disease. The investment to "do it right" outweighs the benefit.

    • Thanks, Chris. It still baffles me. There were a lot of chickens around. You'd think that somebody would sell their eggs. But even people whose whole stand consisted of only two tomatoes and three garlic gloves would, if they sold eggs, buy them from the store and not bring eggs from their farm. I found and find it weird.