Poultry farmers raise concerns over closed house system

JOHOR BARU: A new guideline for chicken farms will negatively impact the country’s poultry industry, says Johor Small and Medium Poultry Farmers Association.

Its association's president Lim Ka Cheng said that the new guidelines set by the government through the Local Government and Housing Ministry, require all open cage systems to be changed to a closed house system by 2030.

“The new guidelines will create a problem for small and medium poultry farmers like us. For many years, the Veterinary Services Department (DVS), which is under the Agriculture and Food Security Ministry, has overseen chicken farms.

“Poultry farmers have been adhering to the requirements set by the DVS for our farms to obtain yearly licence renewals.

“But why is it that in August last year, PLANMalaysia issued planning guidelines for poultry farms instead,” he said in a press conference here on Wednesday (May 29).

Lim added that as of last year, the state has 678 poultry farms comprising 169 closed house systems, 480 open house systems and an additional 29 farms either a combination of closed and open house facilities.

He said that this showed that about 70% of chicken farms in Johor operated as open houses with the majority being small and medium-sized enterprises.

"Under the new guidelines, poultry farmers are required to engage a consultant to design a concept for a closed house farm.

"Most farmers cannot afford the high expenditure to convert to and sustain a closed house system," he added.

Lim also said that the closed house farm must have proper ventilation and installing fans to keep the chickens cool would result in increased electricity bills for the farms.

He noted that among the reasons for the new guidelines were due to concerns about smell pollution and flies coming from chicken farms.

“But based upon records from the state DVS, only 22 cases of fly infestation were recorded in 2022 compared to more than 600 chicken farms in Johor.

“Furthermore, having a closed house system chicken farm is not suitable for our hot and humid weather unlike in countries like America where they have seasons such as winter and autumn.

“Our expenditure will surely go up seven times more due to the new guidelines. If this leads to small and medium farmers exiting the industry, only groups with strong financial background would be left,” he added.

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