Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ●
Wed 25 May 2022
Malaysia’s decision to cut chicken exports to control soaring prices and tackle domestic shortages ruffled feathers on Tuesday, with neighbor Singapore warning of supply disruptions.
The Southeast Asian nation is the latest country to curb food exports as prices rise, after India banned wheat shipments and Indonesia temporarily halted palm oil exports .
Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced on Monday evening that the export of up to 3.6 million chickens per month would be halted from June 1 “until prices and supply stabilize”.
“The government cares and takes seriously the issue of rising prices and the current (low) supply of chickens which is hurting” Malaysians, he said in a statement.
The move follows growing complaints in Malaysia, but it has raised concerns in Singapore, a small city-state that is largely dependent on its neighbor for food supplies.
About a third of Singapore’s chicken imports came from Malaysia in 2021, according to the city-state’s food agency.
The agency warned of “temporary interruptions to the supply of chilled chicken”, but added that it was working with importers to minimize the impact.
“We also advise consumers to buy only what they need,” he said in a statement.
Some stalls selling chicken in Singapore’s fresh produce markets have warned they may have to close temporarily due to the ban, according to a news outlet CNA reported.
Malaysia also exports chickens to markets such as Thailand, Japan and Hong Kong.
As well as limiting exports, Ismail Sabri said Malaysia would seek to increase chicken stocks, abolished some import licenses and promised price-fixing allegations would be investigated.
The country’s headline inflation hit 2.2% in March, with food prices up 4%.
Concerns are growing around the world over food insecurity due to climate change and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with the World Bank warning this month that price hikes were having “devastating effects”.