Malaysia to set up chicken 'stockpiles' to overcome shortages

Malaysia to set up chicken 'stockpiles' to overcome shortages

FILE PHOTO: A worker carries chickens at a poultry farm in Sepang, Selangor, May 27, 2022. (Reuters)
FILE PHOTO: A worker carries chickens at a poultry farm in Sepang, Selangor, May 27, 2022. (Reuters)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia said on Thursday it will seek to stock up on chicken as part of measures to secure domestic supplies and control rising food prices, amid a ban on exports of the poultry.

The neighbouring country, which supplies live chickens mainly to Singapore and Thailand, on June 1 halted exports of chickens until production and prices stabilise, the latest sign of growing global food shortages.

Prices of chicken in Malaysia, one of its cheapest sources of protein, have soared in recent months after a global feed shortage exacerbated by the Russia-Ukraine war disrupted production.

The government has agreed to "establish a method of implementing chicken stockpiles" effective immediately, Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Ronald Kiandee said in a statement.

He did not provide details on how the government would manage the domestic chicken supply.

The government will also simplify import procedures of soy, wheat, corn as well as animal and plant-based livestock feed, and will set up a "priority lane" to accelerate imports until chicken supply stablises, he said.

Chicken feed typically consists of such grains and soybeans, which Malaysia imports.

Ronald said the government will also implement measures to help food manufactures and feedmill operators lower production cost, including reviewing electricity tariffs, and will give poultry farmers a special exemption, to recruit migrant workers amid a labour shortage.

Malaysia's chicken supply, which declined in February, is expected to stabilise from June onwards, he added.

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