Chicken export ban to stay until domestic supply stabilises

PUTRAJAYA: The Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry may consider establishing a special committee to monitor the country's chicken supplies following reports of shortages nationwide.

Its minister, Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee said the Veterinary Services Department (DVS) is responsible for overseeing the situation and local chicken production.

"The committee (on chicken supplies) will only be set up if necessary.

"(Meanwhile), the ban on chicken exports from June 1 will be imposed indefinitely until domestic supply stabilises," he told reporters after attending the ministry's Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house today.

He said the move would involve exports of about 3.6 million live chickens every month to countries including Singapore, Thailand and Pakistan.

He said the ministry would be able to monitor local supplies and review the export ban accordingly, without giving a timeframe.

"This is based on the life cycle of farm chicken of between 35 and 40 days before they can be sold.

"Currently, there is no requirement for Malaysian chicken producers to sell a certain amount of chicken before they are allowed to export."

In addition, he said, the government has agreed to increase the chicken subsidies to RM1.40 in hopes of maintaining the prices in the market and maintain it at RM8.90 (the ceiling price for standard chicken).

Kiandee said Malaysia, which consumes about 1.8 to two million chickens daily, has not faced a shortage in chicken supplies in recent years.

However, he said the country's supplies were recently threatened as farmers experienced challenges to ensuring self-sufficiency level (SSL) due to disease, underweight chicken and costs.

He admitted that there was shortage of whole chicken observed at wholesale markets. Supplies of chicken cuts, however, faced no such issue.

Meanwhile, Mafi's secretary-general Datuk Haslina Abdul Hamid said the ministry is in the midst of reviewing applications by poultry plants in different countries to supply chicken to Malaysia.

There are currently 17 plants in countries including Brazil, China and Thailand exporting both whole and chicken cuts.

"The ministry is currently conducting inspections and checking the necessary documents on the existing plants to have their farm accreditation (certificate) renewed by our authorities."

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