Selected farms in Malaysia can resume exporting chicken from October

Malaysia had imposed an export ban on chicken from June to stabilise local supplies and prices. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia will lift the ban on chicken exports in October, but only certain farms will be given permits to export so as not to disrupt supply for domestic consumption. 

Anti-inflation task force chairman Annuar Musa said on Monday (Aug 29) that the government acceded to the requests by industry players - both local and international - to allow export as there has been a steady surplus of chicken in the country in recent months.

“The Cabinet has discussed and decided that priority must continue to be given to domestic consumption first, even when there is a small oversupply. This can help lower down the price a little for the locals,” he told reporters.

“But since we have the capacity to export, and after taking everything into consideration, it has been decided that we will allow only certain farms to rear for export purposes,” said Tan Sri Annuar.

They need to first get permission from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries before they can start exporting, he added, without elaborating on the quantity that will be sold overseas.

The mechanism will be closely monitored by the task force to ensure that 70 million chickens a month, or 2.3 million birds a day, are available for domestic consumers.

“In fact, there should be slightly more than that,” said Mr Annuar.

Prior to the ban, Malaysia exported 3.6 million chickens a month. It supplied about a third of Singapore’s chicken, which translates to close to 73,000 tonnes a year, and was the Republic’s second-largest source of imported chicken after Brazil.

Malaysia imposed the ban on chicken export on June 1 following a shortage of supply, which led to some traders selling above the set ceiling price.

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

The export 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.

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob had also said 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.

Two months later, the country began seeing a small oversupply of chicken that kept prices below the ceiling rate. The surplus also put Malaysia in a position to export again.

Mr Annuar said the supply for export must come from particular farms so that the mechanism in place can be closely monitored.

“They must follow the procedures set by us. This means they are not allowed to lower the production for local consumption, or take some from there, just so they can focus more on export,” he said.

“They must follow the particular quantity set by us so that the supply for domestic consumption is not affected.”

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