M'sia chicken farmers worried they might lose S'pore market for good if export ban not lifted

The deal for Indonesia to supply chicken to Singapore came just 30 days after Malaysia's ban.

Belmont Lay | July 06, 2022, 02:46 AM

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Malaysia chicken farmers are getting increasingly worried.

They are scared they will lose access to the Singapore market for good if the Malaysia government does not reverse the June 1 chicken export ban soon.

CNA reported that Malaysia's poultry industry players are in talks with their government given the farmers' view that chicken supply in Johor and the rest of Malaysia has already stabilised and there will be a chicken surplus.

The farmers in Malaysia are seeking their local Federation of Livestock Farmers' Associations of Malaysia (FLFAM) to represent their interests.

What are the concerns?

According to the CNA report, Malaysia chicken farmers have cultivated good relationships with Singapore customers over a period of time.

However, the blow dealt by the export ban might undo the goodwill and business ties, given that Singapore has turned to other countries to ensure its food security, an issue that is not taken lightly here.

In response to the ban, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) said on June 30 that Indonesia has become a new source for chicken imports.

This new deal was finalised within a month.

More than 20 countries are now accredited to export chickens to Singapore.

Such a move reduces Singapore's reliance on chickens from Malaysia, but could also potentially cut off the supply chain for good.

Poultry farmers had to deal with one-off demand surge in Malaysia

There are some 700 chicken farms in Johor, according to the CNA report.

Some of these farms in Johor have been catering to the export market.

But with the export ban in place, the farms were able to pull together to cater to the domestic market.

Up to 3.6 million chickens a month could not be exported as a result after Malaysia faced supply and pricing issues, with whole chickens having to be sold above the price ceiling to cover their costs.

Disease infection and weather conditions were among the factors affecting the operations of Malaysia chicken farms.

This was compounded by the easing of pandemic restrictions that saw feasts being held and a surge in demand for chicken.

Since that season has come and gone, there is a surplus of chicken in the market, with Malaysia being 114 per cent self-sufficient in chicken production, CNA reported an industry player saying.

“Once you lose a market, it won’t be easy to get it back,” a person with the Johor Poultry Breeders Association said.

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