Race to set fair pricing


Reports by ALIZA SHAH, MOHD FARHAN SHAH, RAGANANTHINI VETHASALAM, GERARD GIMINO and IYLIA MARSYA ISKANDAR

KUALA LUMPUR: Putrajaya is racing against time to find fair pricing for chicken before the current ceiling price of RM8.90 per kg expires in about two weeks.Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi said the government was still deciding on whether to maintain the price control scheme, which ends on June 5.

“We are now studying (the situation and deciding) if we will go on with the RM8.90 ceiling price,” he told reporters at the ministry’s open house yesterday.

“We need to do a proper study,” he said, adding that there was still some time left before the scheme ended.

Asked when the supply disruption could be resolved, he said it was still uncertain.

“It will depend on statistics from the industry players themselves,” he said, adding that the government was also investigating claims that chicken cartels were manipulating supply and prices.

Nanta noted that the reaction to the abolition of Approved Permits to import chicken had been fairly positive.

On the ban on export of chicken, he said the priority was to meet domestic demand.

“This is not permanent. When there is enough supply, we can let them export chicken again,” he added.

In February, Putrajaya capped the prices of chickens and eggs for four months until June 5.

The maximum price of standard chickens was lowered by 20 sen to RM8.90 per kg while the prices of eggs were also controlled.

The decision to enforce these initiatives was made during the National Council on Cost of Living meeting chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee also said the move to halt chicken exports would be reviewed once the country’s supply returned to stability.

He pointed out that a total of 3.6 million birds were exported to several countries, including Singapore, Vietnam and Pakistan, every month.

Ronald explained that the country was facing a shortage of chickens due to several factors, including disease and weight that did not meet standards.

“The poultry and egg industry is one that should meet the needs of the country because we previously achieved 100% self-sufficiency level for poultry and eggs,” he told the media at the ministry’s Hari Raya open house yesterday.

He said the government had intervened earlier to address the increase in chicken prices by providing subsidies of 60 sen per kg to farmers in February and March and then added another 80 sen in April and May, raising the total subsidy to RM1.40 per kg.

“This was to keep the price of chicken in the market at RM8.90 per kg (ceiling price).

“The intervention measures involve more than RM700mil for six months,” he said.

According to Ronald, between 1.8 million and two million birds are consumed per day.

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