Owners fear further losses

Egg producers in Erbil rally against smuggling from Iran

ERBIL — Egg producers in Erbil held a protest on Tuesday against cheaper eggs smuggled across the Kurdistan Region’s borders. They warned the influx of contraband eggs coming from Iran could force them out of business and undermine domestic production.

Demonstrators blocked one side of the main highway between Erbil and Kirkuk for over an hour, disrupting morening rush hour traffic.

Miskeen Nazm, a local producer, spoke to 964media during the rally, and expressed concerns about the survival of his business, which currently employs nearly 100 workers. “Smuggling will not only potentially end my business, but it also jeopardizes all the jobs in our local egg production projects,” he stated.

Nazm also mentioned that the price of local eggs has drastically dropped due to the market being flooded by smuggled goods. That is affecting producers’ bottom line.

Mohammed Abdullah, another producer who traveled from Choman district to join the protest, highlighted the severe impact on his sales. “I produce 100 cartons of eggs daily, but now I can’t sell them,” he said. “I have between 700 and 800 cartons sitting in storage, which will mean substantial losses.”

Abdullah also pointed to rising costs, including chicken feed, fuel, and workers’ wages, “Every day we incur a loss of 700,000 Iraqi dinars ($530 USD). We sell a carton for 30,000 IQD ($23 USD) while the cost per carton is 50,000 IQD ($38 USD).”

According to Nazm, there are 36 egg producing businesses in the Kurdistan Region and a total of 80 across Iraq, capable of fully supplying the local market if not for the issue of smuggled eggs undermining their operations.