Govt decides to maintain ceiling price of chicken and eggs

False alarm: The prices of chicken and eggs will not increase beyond the fixed ceiling come July 1. — AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

PETALING JAYA: With many consumers fearing that household expenditure will soar if the prices of chicken and eggs are floated, the government has decided to continue with the ceiling price of the two items.

The retail ceiling price for standard processed chicken will remain at RM9.40 per kg while grade A eggs are 45 sen each, grade B (43 sen) and grade C (41 sen).

In Langkawi, Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan, the maximum price may differ based on zones and districts.

In a joint statement yesterday, the Agriculture and Food Security Ministry and the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had agreed with their proposal that the subsidies be continued.

“The decision to continue with the ceiling (after June) was made to ensure the people’s welfare is taken care of,” the statement read.

The move to retain the ceiling prices comes just a day after a statement from Datuk Seri Mohamed Sabu who said that the government was preparing a soft landing after the withdrawal of subsidies.

The Agriculture and Food Security Minister said the ban on the export of chicken would also be lifted to enable farmers to earn a better income and to increase cash flow into the country.

The lifting of the ban has not been rescinded despite the U-turn on the ceiling price.

The government’s earlier decision came after complaints by poultry farmers and traders about how the weather and other factors had affected their livelihood.

Johor Small and Medium Poultry Farmers Association committee member Wong Wei Chang said the recent hot weather had hampered egg production; thus, egg weights were mostly grade C, D and E.

“The egg industry has been badly hit by avian influenza that has prevented imports of breeding chicks.

“The farm’s productivity has been affected for a while, and we need a buffer period of roughly eight months to enhance egg production,” he said, adding that his farm produces between 130,000 and 140,000 eggs daily.

He said the expected hot weather until August and September would also affect egg production.

However, he said the cost of chicken feed, which accounts for 70% of the production cost, was still the biggest problem.

A grocery shop operator in Selangor who wanted to be known as Chaang said egg supply has still not returned to what it was before the Covid-19 pandemic and the highest demand was now for Grade C eggs.

“People are buying less,” he said, adding that there had been no increase in the supply of Grade C eggs and “no increase in our request for more eggs”, while the supply of Grade AA and A eggs had not decreased.

Pudu Hawkers and Petty Traders Association chairman Lim Kin He said feedback from chicken vendors showed the supply remained consistent, but customer purchasing power had decreased.

“The supply of fresh chicken is stable, but fewer people are coming to the market, affecting the sellers’ business,” he said.

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