Malaysia bans chicken exports from June 1: How Singapore consumers, businesses are coping

SINGAPORE - Malaysia's chicken export ban kicks in from June 1, a move that will affect 3.6 million whole chickens sold overseas every month.

The ban will be in place until production and prices stabilise, said the Malaysian authorities.

Analysts say rising chicken prices in Malaysia is just the tip of the iceberg amid a surge in consumer food prices due to global food insecurity. Apart from chicken, the supply of fish in the country has also fallen 70 per cent.

With more than a third of Singapore's chicken supply coming from Malaysia, how are businesses here, such as wet market and chicken rice stalls, coping?

For consumers, what are some alternatives to the most widely consumed meat here?

First day of Malaysia's chicken export ban: Sellers in S'pore face higher costs, stopping operations

Chicken sellers in Singapore are facing higher costs from suppliers on the first day of Malaysia's ban on its chicken exports on Wednesday (June 1).

Some which are more dependent on Malaysian suppliers are ceasing operations for a month, although there were no long queues at markets visited by The Straits Times.

Chicken rice sellers said they are preparing to sell frozen chicken once their fresh chicken supplies are exhausted in a few days.


Most shoppers comfortable with frozen chicken or alternative meats as Malaysia ban looms

While a handful of shoppers at wet markets bought more fresh chicken than usual on Tuesday (May 31), others said they would buy only what they need and are comfortable switching to frozen poultry or other meats if fresh chicken is no longer available.

Meanwhile, some consumers took the opportunity to tuck into chicken rice and other dishes before Malaysia's export ban on fresh chicken kicks in on Wednesday (June 1).

Among the shoppers who spoke to The Straits Times on Tuesday was warehouse operator Han Jun Yin, 42, who bought 10 chickens rather than her usual five at 216 Bedok North Market.


No fresh chicken? No problem. Experts suggest other sources of protein

Chicken features in gym owner Viknesh Vennu's lunch and dinner every day, be it grilled chicken with pasta, baked chicken with couscous or roasted chicken breast with vegetables.

But the 31-year-old may soon have to replace his favourite meat with another source of protein, with Malaysia's ban on the export of chicken starting Wednesday (June 1).

Singapore imported almost 73,000 tonnes of chicken from Malaysia last year - more than a third of the Republic's chicken supply. According to the Singapore Food Agency, chicken is the most widely consumed meat here, with a per capita consumption of 36kg in 2020.


Singapore chicken importers urge clients to accept parts instead of whole bird

Chicken importers facing a Malaysian export ban that kicks in from June 1 are urging their clients to accept whatever parts - such as breast or wing - are available, rather than order the whole bird.

For their part, importers are ramping up processing before the ban, stockpiling as much chicken in chillers and freezers while they can to counter uncertainties ahead.

"We are working with our customers and have asked them to switch to different... parts, depending on what's available," said Mr James Sim, head of business development at importer Kee Song Food.


SG Extra Podcast: What Malaysia's chicken export ban means for Singapore's food resilience

What does Malaysia's chicken export ban mean for the resilience of Singapore's food supply?

How is the Republic faring for its “30 by 30” target to produce 30 per cent of its nutritional needs locally by 2030?

ST Singapore editor Zakir Hussain gives his take on the issue in this podcast.


Rising chicken prices in Malaysia: Could fish be next?

Rising prices for chicken amid a shortage in Malaysia is just the tip of the iceberg as the country battles a surge in consumer food prices due to global food insecurity.

Apart from chicken, the supply of fish in the country has also fallen 70 per cent, dropping from a million tonnes to approximately 300,000 tonnes a month due to uncertain weather over the past two months.

The National Fishermen's Association (Nekmat) had said that this has caused the price of fish in the market to soar distinctly, with small-sized mackerels being sold at RM12 to RM14 (S$3.80 to S$4.40) per kilogram presently, as compared to RM3 to RM4 before.


What's causing Malaysia's chicken shortage? Farmers cite higher feed costs, weakening ringgit

Despite having the capacity to produce chickens and eggs to almost self-sufficiency levels, Malaysia still faces a severe chicken shortage, mainly because of its dependence on imports of feed whose prices have surged in recent months.

Hit by higher costs and other factors, some poultry farmers have stopped production, while others have raised prices despite a price cap set by the government.

"The price increase in poultry products is due to the global price increases in its main input feed - which is grain-based, mainly corn, soya bean and wheat - because two of the world's major producers of grains (Ukraine and Russia) are at war with each other," economist Nungsari Ahmad Radhi told The Straits Times.


Malaysian farms rushing to send chickens to Singapore before export ban

Chicken suppliers in Malaysia are working overtime and rushing to send as many chickens as they can across the Causeway before the export ban kicks in on June 1.

Eight exporters, farmers and suppliers in Malaysia who spoke to The Straits Times on condition of anonymity said the sudden announcement by the Malaysian government to ban the export of chickens came as a shock.

They added that they have since been rushing to send as much of their supply as possible to Singapore, with some farms working round the clock to make arrangements for additional lorries and deliveries.


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