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Malaysian poultry breeders believe export ban on chickens will hurt them in the long run

JOHOR BARU (THE STAR) - Malaysian poultry breeders will face another problem if the export of live chicken is banned.

Johor Poultry Breeders (Small and Medium) Association secretary Lau Ka Leng said the ban was only a stop-gap measure by the government in addressing the chicken shortage in the country but could affect poultry breeders in the future.

"We will lose out in the long run as Singapore could be looking at other nearby countries to replace chicken from Malaysia," he said when contacted on Tuesday (May 24).

Mr Lau cited a similar move was made by Malaysia when it put a temporary ban on the export of eggs during Covid-19 when the government imposed movement curbs known as the the movement control order (MCO).

He said during that period, there was a shortage of eggs in the local market where the government decided to ban export of eggs to meet local demand.

"Prior to the ban, we exported about four million eggs a month to Singapore.

"When the ban was lifted, we found that Singapore reduced its import by half which had caused a surplus of eggs here," he said.

Mr Lau feared the country could see a surplus of chicken once the number of the birds stabilised in the local market as Singapore may reduce its import of chicken from Malaysia, resulting in losses for local poultry breeders.

Malaysia will stop the export of 3.6 million whole chickens a month from June 1 until production and prices stabilise.

More overseas abattoirs will also be recognised to boost the country's chicken supply, and import permits for poultry will be scrapped.

The moves come as the country faces a shortage of chickens along with soaring prices.

Malaysia exported more than 49 million live chickens in 2020, as well as 42.3 tonnes of chicken and duck meat, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries' Department of Veterinary Services data.

Singapore imported almost 73,000 tonnes of chicken in 2021 - more than a third of its chicken supply - from Malaysia. Chicken is the most widely consumed meat in Singapore, with a per capita consumption of 36kg in 2020, according to data from the Singapore Food Agency.

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