Malaysia chicken export ban: No word yet on when it will end, says Grace Fu

·2-min read
Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu (left) said in Parliament that there has been no indication from Malaysian authorities to end the chicken ban. (PHOTO: Yahoo News Singapore/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu (left) said in Parliament that there has been no indication from Malaysian authorities to end the chicken ban. (PHOTO: Yahoo News Singapore/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — There has been no indication yet from Malaysian authorities as to when they will lift the chicken export ban, said Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu in Parliament on Monday (4 July).

Fu was responding to Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC Member of Parliament Alex Yam's query on whether the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has heard from their Malaysia counterparts on whether the ongoing ban might be reviewed or ended.

"The answer is no," she said.

Malaysia had stopped the export of chicken to countries such as Singapore from 1 June, in a bid to stabilise production as prices of the poultry soared. According to SFA, 34 per cent of Singapore's chicken supply comes from Malaysia, with most of those chickens being imported live and slaughtered here.

Singapore also receives chilled and frozen chicken from countries including Thailand, Australia and Brazil. Last month, it added Indonesia to the list of countries that can export chicken meat and products to the city-state.

Food supply disruptions cannot be fully prevented: Fu

Fu had spoken in Parliament on Singapore's food security issues, explaining that the city-state cannot fully prevent disruptions from events such as geopolitical tensions, extreme weather and foreign governments' decisions.

She added that the government has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to potential disruptions. For instance, it is ensuring a diverse network of food sources, maintaining stockpiles of essential food items, and growing more food locally.

"Our priority must be to meet a significant proportion of our food supply needs. Build up significant skill sets so that we have the production knowledge and capability onshore to support us in times of need," she said.

The challenge will be to increase local food production with less than 1 per cent of land set aside for agri-food production. Fu said that, to give Singapore the bulk of food supply its population needs, productivity needs to increase "to the multiple of 10 times" of the current production level.

When asked by East Coast GRC MP Jessica Tan on what Singaporeans can do to support the country's food resilience strategy, Fu said that they should be adaptable and flexible when it comes to food choices.

"If you can't find chicken, go for other forms of meat," she said. "If we show some hardiness, then I think the whole of Singapore will have much better resilience against food disruptions."

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