Malaysia to set up chicken 'stockpiles' to overcome shortages

On June 1, Malaysia halted exports of chickens until production and prices stabilise. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) - Malaysia said on Thursday (June 9) it will seek to stock up on chicken as part of measures to secure domestic supplies and control rising food prices, amid a ban on exports of the poultry.

The South-east Asian country, which supplies live chickens mainly to neighbouring Singapore and Thailand, on June 1 halted exports of chickens until production and prices stabilise, the latest sign of growing global food shortages.

Prices of chicken in Malaysia, one of its cheapest sources of protein, have soared in recent months after a global feed shortage exacerbated by the Russia-Ukraine war disrupted production.

The government has agreed to "establish a method of implementing chicken stockpiles" effective immediately, Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Ronald Kiandee said in a statement.

He did not provide details on how the government would manage the domestic chicken supply.

The government will also simplify import procedures of soya, wheat, corn as well as animal and plant-based livestock feed, and will set up a "priority lane" to accelerate imports until chicken supply stabilises, he said.

Chicken feed typically consists of such grains and soya beans, which Malaysia imports.

Mr Ronald said the government will also implement measures to help food manufactures and feed mill operators lower production cost, including reviewing electricity tariffs, and will give poultry farmers a special exemption to recruit migrant workers amid a labour shortage.

Malaysia's chicken supply, which declined in February, is expected to stabilise from June onwards, he added.

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