Exclusive: ‘Angry’ viral Welsh egg farmer explains supermarket shortages: ‘We simply can’t afford to produce them’

Ioan Humphries has had thousands of views and received large support online.

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Tesco has joined other supermarkets in limiting the number of boxes of eggs customers can buy as the impacts of rising costs and bird flu continue to take their toll.

The shopping chain said it had introduced a temporary buying limit of three boxes per customer as a precautionary measure.

Earlier this month, Asda and Lidl announced limits on egg purchases at some of their stores.

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has called for an “urgent investigation” into the egg supply chain disruption.

Ioan Humphries has had thousand of views and received large support online.
Ioan Humphries has had thousand of views and received large support online.

Welsh farmer Ioan Humphries went viral on social media after posting his thoughts on the issues online.

Speaking on GB News, Ioan said it was a “sticky situation.”

He told Bev Turner: “It’s costing us quite a bit of money to produce these eggs. It can cost an egg producer anywhere from £1.20 to £1.40 to produce a dozen eggs. We’re currently getting paid around £1.09 for that dozen eggs so the cost of production is a lot higher than the amount we get paid for it.”

The Welsh farmer went on to explain the problems he and others in his position are facing.

Welsh farmer Ioan Humphreys speaking with Bev Turner
Welsh farmer Ioan Humphreys speaking with Bev Turner

“The cost of producing eggs went up so high that producers couldn’t physically continue producing the eggs, so when their shed was emptied, they haven’t refilled.

“There’s eight million less laying birds being ordered for next year, so that’s about eight million less eggs every single day.

On dealing with the large supermarkets, Mr Humphries said he was forced to vent his thoughts on social media rather than going directly to them.

“We’re all part of the British Free Range Eggs Producers Association. They’re the voice of the farmers with the supermarkets.

“I’m just an angry, little farmer in Wales. I’m a very small fish in a very big pond! That’s why I took to social media.

Mr Humphries felt that supermarkets were not respectful of the costs.

“Feed costs have gone really high,” he said. “I’ve gone from paying £250 a tonne to £400 a tonne for feed. I go through 30 tonne a week.

“My electricity bill has tripled, at least tripled. The cost of buying new birds has gone up a pound a bird, and I have 32,000 birds.”

The Welsh farmer went on to explain the problems he and others in his position are facing.

“The cost of producing eggs went up so high that producers couldn’t physically continue producing the eggs, so when their shed was emptied, they haven’t refilled.

“There’s eight million less laying birds being ordered for next year, so that’s about eight million less eggs every single day.

On dealing with the large supermarkets, Mr Humphries said he was forced to vent his thoughts on social media rather than going directly to them.

“We’re all part of the British Free Range Eggs Producers Association. They’re the voice of the farmers with the supermarkets.

“I’m just an angry, little farmer in Wales. I’m a very small fish in a very big pond! That’s why I took to social media.

Welsh farmer Ioan Humphreys
Welsh farmer Ioan Humphreys

He said he was “completely blown away” by the support he’s received.

“All I can do is thank the general public for supporting us farmers.

“Us as farmers, we want to produce food, that’s our jobs, so we want to be producing this great British product.

“It’s not that we don’t want to produce them. It’s simply that we can’t afford to.”

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it understood the difficulties farmers were facing, and said it was working with the industry to "monitor the market.

"The UK's food supply chain is resilient - there are 38 million laying hens across the country and we are not expecting any significant impact to the overall supply".