People in Saudi Arabia have resorted to Twitter and Facebook to protest the sudden increase in chicken and egg prices by as much as 40 percent in the past two weeks.

An online consumer campaign that started earlier this week and is titled, “Let it Rot,” urges residents to “punish” poultry traders by not eating chicken.

The campaign claims that the chicken prices have soared by 50 percent while those of eggs have jumped from SR10 ($2.5) to SR16 ($4).

The government has imposed a chicken export ban in an attempt to boost supplies.

Saudi Agriculture Minister Fahd Balghunaim said the rising cost of chicken was the result of a major shortfall in production, with local suppliers able to meet only 45 percent of the demand in the kingdom. He also blamed a 30-40 percent increase in the price of animal feed, BBC reported.

Supporters of the campaign say that the wholesale poultry dealers were sending chickens to other Gulf markets leading to the price rise.

People have posted on Twitter pictures of what they claimed were piles of unsold chickens in supermarkets and cartoons of chickens reading newspapers because people were not buying them.

Saudis regularly use social media to register protests in a country where political parties, unions and protests are banned, BBC reported.

However, many remain sceptical of the effectiveness of the campaign in bringing down the chicken prices. “If you wish to boycott chicken, then be vegetarians as fish is more expensive and meat is just the same (price),” Al Arabiya reported a consumer saying.