Indonesia starts sending frozen chicken to Singapore

Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo (second from right) inspecting chicken to be sent to Singapore. ST PHOTO: LINDA YULISMAN
An executive from poultry company Charoen Pokphand Indonesia checks frozen chicken in Jakarta to be sent to Singapore. ST PHOTO: LINDA YULISMAN

JAKARTA - Indonesia on Wednesday (July 13) started delivering frozen chicken to Singapore, a move that will allow the Republic to diversify its chicken sources after its major supplier Malaysia banned exports early last month.

As much as 50,000kg of frozen chicken - worth 2 billion rupiah (S$187,749) - from integrated poultry company Charoen Pokphand Indonesia (CPI) was due to be loaded onto a vessel at the Tanjung Priok port in North Jakarta on Wednesday evening.

The chicken will be shipped to Singapore from there, and is estimated to arrive on Saturday and be handled by Crown Pacific Beverage, CPI's trading partner.

The Indonesian exporter held a sending-off ceremony on Wednesday morning.

The shipment came after the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) approved Indonesia as Singapore's new source of frozen, chilled and processed chicken meat on June 30. Chicken from three establishments run by CPI and Ciomas Adisatwa, a subsidiary of publicly listed Japfa Comfeed Indonesia, can be imported.

CPI expects to deliver 1,000 tonnes of frozen chicken in total gradually throughout this year to Singapore, in line with its business-to-business contract, its president-commissioner Hadi Gunawan Tjoe said during a ceremony at the company’s headquarters in North Jakarta on Wednesday to mark the first shipment of frozen chicken to Singapore.

"We have high hopes that the exports will run well and sustainably, and (with) further increase," he said, adding that the exports are expected to bring a better outlook for Indonesia's poultry industry amid the global food crisis.

The 1,000 tonne contract is worth 40 billion rupiah, said Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo, who was present at the ceremony.

Besides Singapore, CPI has also exported chicken and chicken products to Japan, Timor-Leste, Papua Guinea and Qatar.

CPI works mostly on manufacturing animal feeds, including poultry feeds, but its business activities also include broiler breeding, wholesale trading of livestock and wholesale trading of poultry and processed chicken.

Indonesia has never sold chicken to Singapore, but the country does export around 50,000 salted eggs to the Republic a month.

Mr Syahrul described Indonesia's latest exports of frozen chicken to Singapore as "special", indicating the preparedness of local poultry breeders to meet overseas demand.

He said the exports were encouraging "as Singapore has so far bought (chicken) from a few other countries" as well.

The minister also noted that the exports are still in line with Indonesia's capacity to ensure its national supply.

South-east Asia's biggest economy has faced an oversupply of chicken, and the situation has deteriorated during Covid-19 pandemic, with surpluses even rising.

This year, it will produce 3.88 million tonnes of chicken meat, more than its domestic demand, and the government hopes that part of the surplus can be sold overseas.

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Another company getting the SFA's nod, Ciomas Adisatwa, earlier told The Straits Times that it will begin shipping frozen chicken to Singapore on July 24 and aims to deliver 100 tonnes of frozen chicken within the first month of its deliveries.

When asked about greater business opportunities in Singapore, CPI president-director Tjiu Thomas Effendy said that it may use its farms in Batam, Riau Islands, to supply live chickens to Singapore, although this may not happen soon.

"It takes time because the verification (of facilities) will be more complicated... But it is our target to get there. We also need to improve our farms to meet requirements from the SFA," he said.

Mr Thomas added that the company is currently negotiating a contract with another buyer in Singapore, apart from the current importer with which it is working. He also expects to expand sales of frozen chicken to Singapore this year beyond the 1,000 tonnes that have been sealed with its Singapore partner.

CPI director Ferdiansyah Gunawan Tjoe said that they chose to transport the frozen chicken by sea as it is the most cost efficient mode of transport.

On chilled chicken, he said: "We are trying to find special packaging technology that can prolong the shell life of chilled chickens to eight days."

The current shelf life is four days.

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