Chickens and eggs to cost slightly more, says Fomca

PETALING JAYA: Consumers are likely to pay slightly more for chickens and eggs when their prices are left to market forces beginning July 1, according to the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca).

Chief executive officer Dr Saravanan Thambirajah expects an increase of between 1% and 5% once the ceiling prices and subsidies are removed.

“It depends on the market situation, but the increase is going to be very small.

“We must understand that the government also allows imports where some players may be able to bring in cheaper items.

“If we have good competition, then the prices might be cheaper,” he said.

He called on the government to collect data by doing market surveillance and anticipate the situation at least three to six months ahead.

“Based on previous data, we somehow can anticipate the livestock and food security situation.

“Don’t wait until the last minute to look for solutions, like what happened previously.

“We would be back to square one in having to providing subsidies and whatnot.”

To keep prices affordable, Dr Saravanan advised consumers to refrain from panic buying, which will lead to overstocking and wastage.

“If there’s more demand for local eggs or chickens, consumers should raise the issue with the agriculture and food security ministry or Fomca, so that the producers can increase production.

“That’s why the floating mechanism is in place, and it allows for the best producers to make an income.”

Without being overly dependent on subsidies, he said there are government measures and aids in place for B40 consumers.

“We will see what the demands are like for the M40 and T20 groups in the next few months, in order to anticipate the future market. It is too early now, as July is still some time away,” he said.

Welcoming the price-float mechanism, livestock farmers are expecting the official document from the government for their next course of action.

“We will wait for the official memo from the government to the federation about the implementation, which will contain more details for the farmers.

“We will be able to say more after that,” said Tan Chee Hee, who is the president of the Federation of Livestock Farmers Association of Malaysia (FLFAM).

The federation has been pushing for the floating of the prices of eggs and chickens, due to financial constraints following the sharp price increase in chicken feed and other operating costs.

“The price control mechanism was introduced due to the inflation and bouts of global economic challenges in the past few years. The government has considered the people’s livelihood burden to ensure that they can afford these essential food items.

“So they will come up with some soft-landing measures, and we look forward to more details.”

While it is the best way forward to let the market decide demand and supply, Tan said what the federation and government wanted was to ensure sufficient supplies.

“After the pandemic that caused many shortages in the supply chain, there was bird flu.

“Although Malaysia is not affected by bird flu, it somehow affected our supply. That’s why we will always monitor the situation to ensure food security here. We will always cooperate with the government on pricing mechanisms in the future to ensure sufficient supplies in the market,” he added.

When contacted, FLFAM life honorary president Kwei Yew Tong said chicken farmers have been able to claim their subsidy for chicken eggs.

“Some have received their payment, and some are waiting,” he said.

The government announced on Feb 27 that the subsidy for chicken eggs would continue until June involving a total cost of RM1.28bil, ahead of the expected floating of chicken and egg prices.

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