Metric loss

Only 4,500 metric tonnes of frozen whole chicken imported due to supply shortage, says deputy minister

KUALA LUMPUR: Although companies were allowed by the government to import 10,000 metric tons of frozen whole chicken, only 4,500 metric tons could be imported due to shortage of supply.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food Industries, I Datuk Seri Ahmad Hamzah, said the strong demand for chicken following the reopening of economic sectors such as hotels, restaurants and catering has exceeded supply.

Malaysia needs a supply of 2.09 million chickens per day equivalent to 3,762 metric tons per day or 62.9 million birds per month equivalent to 113,220 metric tons per month, he said. .

However, according to data from the Department of Veterinary Services, chicken production in December 2021 stood at 61.1 million compared to the 62.9 million birds needed, Ahmad said.

“This indicates that there is a shortage of supply in the market. The demand for chicken has skyrocketed after the movement control order and to meet the demands producers would need more time,” he said. he added.

Ahmad said his ministry expects the supply to be sufficient for Ramadan.

“However, so far we have only managed to import 4,500 metric tons of chicken while the government has allowed companies to import 10,000 metric tons,” Ahmad added during the Q&A session at the Parliament on Monday March 21.

The shortage of chicken supply is due to multiple reasons including poultry industry players reducing their production in order to avoid losses incurred by increasing operating costs due to rising feed prices for chickens, he said.

“The cost of animal feed is 70% of the cost of production,” he said.

Corn meal and soybean meal, which go into the composition of chicken feed, increased by 110.99% and 83.45% respectively, he said.

The price of maize rose to RM1,920 per ton in March 2022 from RM910 per ton in January 2020, and the price of soybean meal rose to RM3,070 per ton this month from RM1,673.50 per ton. ton in January 2020.

Other factors influencing the rise in chicken prices are rising operating costs along the chain such as logistics costs, labor costs and exchange rates, Ahmad added. .

He also said the flood disaster at the end of 2021 affected the poultry industry, as did the rainy season.

To meet local demand and ease the burden on farmers, he said the government has implemented short-term and long-term measures such as the opening of Approved Permits (APs) allowing 36 companies to import 36 030 metric tons of chicken from December 2021 to May. 2022.

The government also provides subsidies of RM0.60 per kg of chicken and RM0.05 per egg, benefiting 2,061 poultry industry players and 194 laying hen farmers, he said.

“Through the subsidy, people can avail the lower price of whole chicken which is RM8.90 per kg and eggs between RM0.39 and RM0.43 each depending on the quality,” he said. , adding that the total subsidy supported by the government was RM528.52mil.