Chicken exports halted from June 1 to check supply, price issues

PUTRAJAYA: Four short-term measures will be taken to resolve the issue of chicken supply and prices, including to stop chicken exports from June 1.

Buffer stocks will also be created to optimise cold storage facilities owned by the Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry as well as its agencies.

The Cabinet, which met on Monday (May 23), also decided to lift the requirement for Approved Permits (AP) for chicken imports, including for whole birds and parts.

The process to claim subsidies by breeders will be facilitated and the Cabinet has also agreed to increase and recognise more abattoirs overseas in order to increase chicken supply.

Announcing these initiatives, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri said the export of 3.6 million birds a month will stop from June 1 until the prices and supply of chicken stabilises.

“The government’s priority is to the people,” he said in a statement on Monday (May 23).

Ismail Sabri also said the government was disappointed over action by certain chicken producers that had affected the price and supply of chicken.

He said since Feb 5, the ceiling price for standard chicken had been fixed at RM8.90 per kilo and the government had allocated RM729.43mil in subsidies.

“However, it was found that several big companies were not interested to apply for the subsidy and wanted the government to allow the price of chicken to be determined by the market,” he said.

To date, RM50mil worth of subsidies had been paid out, mostly to small companies.

Ismail Sabri said the government is aware of claims of cartels controlling the price and supply of chicken among big companies.

“The Malaysia Competition Commission is investigating the claims and is expected to complete its probe by the end of June.

“If it is true that cartels are in cohort to control the price, we will take action against them,” he said.

The Prime Minister said the role of middlemen who manipulates price and supply was addressed by the “Jihad Memerangi Orang Tengah” (War Against Middlemen) programme that was introduced in 2014.

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