[Anchor Lead]In the aftermath of the spread of avian influenza, eggs have become a lot more scarce and expensive. Signs of serious egg shortages are emerging as the nation has suspended egg imports and the demand for Easter eggs is on the rise.[Pkg]A "closed" sign is posted on the door of an egg wholesaler. The store has apparently closed because it has no eggs to pack.[Soundbite] Shin Jae-yong(Egg Wholesaler) : "There is nowhere to find or buy eggs. Farms that produce eggs right now believe they have hit the jackpot."Layers of egg cartons have become obsolete. A vehicle used to transport eggs has arrived, but it carries only half of the volume it usually brings.[Soundbite] (Egg Carrier) : "Normally, the stacked up cartons reach up to my head. But now, it only reaches half of that."Due to the shortage in eggs, store owners and customers end up playing hide-and-seek and even premium dealings are taking place.[Soundbite] (Egg Distributor (Voice modified)) : "When I call the egg farm, they ask me to pay 1,000 won(90 Cents) more. It has become natural to pay 10,000 won(USD 8.8) extra."Due to the spread of avian influenza, 25 million egg-laying hens, or 36 percent of the total, were culled. On top of that, the suspension of egg imports and demand for Easter eggs have driven up egg prices by more than 40 percent compared to a year ago. Small-scale neighborhood bakeries are also facing a crisis. Cakes made primarily with eggs have disappeared from the shelves.[Soundbite] Cho Yang-kyu(Bakery Owner) : "The owner of the shop that supplies us with eggs has told me not use too many."The government has projected that a surge in egg prices due to the shortage in supply is expected to continue until the end of the year.
TagsKBS News Today