The Malaysian government revealed yesterday that it is banning the export of all poultry in the country as it investigates illegal cartel activity controlling the price and shipment of its produce.
Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has said Malaysia will halt exports of 3.6 million chickens per month from June 1, to investigate allegations of cartel pricing.
The Malaysian Competition Commission is investigating reports that Ismail is promising to crack down on any company found guilty of procurement sabotage.
“If it is true that these cartels exist, we will take legal action against them.”
The country’s national news agency, Bernama, reported that there was a shortage of poultry locally as the cartels had planned to shut down farming operations over the weekend.
The Minister for Agriculture and Food Industries met with 12 growers and herder groups following a Cabinet meeting which discussed the ban.
The move is expected to hit Singapore hard, which sources one-third from Malaysia, as well as Thailand, Brunei, Japan and Hong Kong.
The ban is the latest in a series of protectionist measures as nations around the world grapple with rising food prices. Indonesia recently banned palm oil exports, India restricted wheat exports, and Serbia and Kazakhstan both imposed quotas on grain shipments.
Singapore’s Food Agency said the restriction could lead to temporary disruptions in the supply of chilled chicken in the city-state and urged consumers to be open to switching to frozen chicken or other meat products. Singapore revealed that around 34% of its chicken imports came from Malaysia last year, with almost all of it imported as live chickens.
Selena Ling, head of research and treasury strategy at OCBC Bank in Singapore, said the city-state could manage if the chicken supply disruption was temporary.
“But if it’s persistent and more worrying, reflecting more protectionist measures taken by other countries on food security and inflation concerns, then it could be a lose-lose scenario for everyone.”
In 2020, Malaysia exported poultry meat worth $18.9 million, making it the world’s 49th largest exporter of this product.
Source Bangkok Post