Southern Finland is facing an egg shortage in the wake of the EU-wide ban on battery cages for laying hens which went into effect on January 1, as production has decreased by 10 percent while consumption has increased by 13 percent, according to the Finnish Poultry Association.

An estimated one-third of operating poultry producers closed down at the beginning of 2012, unwilling to make the necessary investments to convert to the now-required cage-free pens for laying hens, said the association. There are currently 350 henhouses in operation in Finland. When the country joined the EU in 1995, there were over 3,000 hatcheries in operation.

Egg prices have increased from €1.40 (US$1.84) to nearly €2.00 (US$2.63), and other EU countries are facing similar challenges.