Sri Lanka has imported two million eggs from India to ensure food security in the crisis-hit island nation, Trade Minister Nalin Fernando said on Thursday. Fernando told Parliament that the shipment imported by the State Trading General Corporation had arrived and the stocks would be released in the market within three days.
The decision to import eggs was based on a decision by a cabinet committee to ensure food security, Fernando said. In January when the market shortages were noticed, the Animal Production and Health Department declined to approve the import of eggs from India or Pakistan as both countries reported bird-flu outbreaks in the past six months.
Director General of the Health Department Himali Kotelawala had said that the country of origin of eggs must be free of bird flu for at least six months. “India had recently experienced severe outbreaks of bird flu, so importing eggs from India is contrary to the Animal Health Disease Act in Sri Lanka. The Import and Export Controller General cannot be allowed to import eggs from India”, she told reporters then.
The trade ministry said the Indian-origin eggs would be allowed to be used only in the bakery industry after necessary quality checks. The local poultry farmers association said that imports must come from countries free of bird flu such as Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and the United States of America.