Malaysia may be able to resume exports amid chicken surplus

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Malaysia has a small oversupply of chicken that puts the country in a position to export the poultry again, two months after imposing a ban on exports due to a shortage, a minister said on Monday (Aug 1).

Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Ronald Kiandee told Parliament that with the oversupply of chicken, local chicken prices have been kept below the government-mandated ceiling prices, and the industry’s supply and inflation issues have stabilised.

Datuk Seri Ronald’s remarks open up the possibility of Malaysia finally lifting its chicken export ban that was first imposed on June 1 to stabilise domestic supply.

The minister had previously said the decision on export will be reviewed after the stabilising measures end on Aug 31.

Prior to the ban, Malaysia, which exported 3.6 million chickens a month, was Singapore’s second-largest source of imported chicken after Brazil.

The ban was partially lifted following a Cabinet decision on June 8, allowing the export of live kampung and black chickens to Singapore. But the ban on commercial broiler chicken, which makes up the biggest portion of Singapore’s chicken imports from Malaysia, is still in place.

Ronald said Malaysia’s chicken industry is now in a “stable” condition.

“Right now, we have excess chicken supply, so the price of chicken being sold is actually lower than the ceiling price,” said the minister.

He added that Malaysia could produce up to 106 per cent of its self-sufficiency level for chicken. “We now have the capacity to export from our chicken supply.”

The government’s ceiling price for standard chicken from July 1 is RM 9.40 (S$2.91) per kg. a price mechanism that will remain in place until Aug 31.

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob previously announced that the government spent RM720 million in subsidies to keep chicken prices low amid inflation. Chicken feed subsidies were, however, removed from July 1.

Apart from subsidies, ceiling price and export ban, the government also abolished permits for imports, enabling more players to import chicken into the country.

Despite the stabilising of chicken prices and supply, Malaysia is still grappling with inflation for other key food items, especially cooking oil.

The government last month removed bottled cooking oil subsidies, causing prices to nearly double, and kept subsidies for polybag cooking oils.

It has since said that it plans to introduce a ceiling price for bottled cooking oil as well.

Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz had said that Malaysia was expected to spend some RM80 billion on subsidies this year alone in its attempt to keep food prices low; the largest subsidy bill in the country’s history.

He had also talked about using a more targeted approach in giving out fuel subsidies.

 

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

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