Chicken shortage: Bin red tape and provide subsidies to farm operators, DAP says

WITH several states reporting shortage in chicken supply, the DAP urged the Government to accelerate subsidy payment to chicken farm operators soon to alleviate their burden.

“Although the Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry had set aside RM528.52 mil in subsidies for chicken farm operators at 60 sen a kilogramme, the rate must be reviewed from time to time in view of rising cost of chicken feed.

“And the ministry should also dish out the subsidies quickly to farm operators without the hassle of going through unnecessary bureaucracy,” its secretary-general Anthony Loke said in a statement.

Four days ago, Utusan Malaysia alleged that a group of cartels involving in the poultry business were planning to shut down chicken farms this coming weekend to protest against the Government’s purported delay in providing subsidies.

The closure is expected to skyrocket chicken prices, affecting consumers and retailers.

“The ‘hidden hand’ tried to ration chicken supply in the market in the past but failed. So now, they are attempting to shut down farms.

“Their excuse is that the Government has been delaying to provide subsidy, given that chicken feed costs have escalated. They claim the authorities are unsympathetic towards the supply issues despite rising costs,” the daily quoted a source as saying.

Yesterday, several states such as Perlis and Selangor had reported shortage in chicken supply in several areas.

Perlis Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) director Dr Adam Abdullah Kwan said that several traders have started rationing sales on their own to enable more customers to get chicken.

Selangor State Infrastructure, Public Utilities, Modernisation of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Committee chairman Izham Hashim, on the other hand, blamed the shortage to excessive demand.

Start prioritising food security

Touching on the matter, Loke said that chicken supply disruption should not have occurred and the Government’s failure to address the issue was unacceptable.

He added that chicken is an important source of protein for common folks and Putrajaya should act fast to remedy the situation.

“While we laud the Government for imposing a ceiling price for the food item due to rising cost of living, the authorities should have also ensured farm operators and the entire supply chain did not suffer heavy losses by providing adequate subsidies to them,” the former minister opined.

Loke reminded Putrajaya that its decision to abolish approved permits (AP) for food items was not a “silver bullet” formula that could resolve rising prices, with no disruption to the supply chain.

“We must understand that many countries are having food security issues and it’s natural for them to prioritise their own citizens by curbing food exports.

“And the depreciation of our ringgit is only making things worse by escalating prices. It’s time for Putrajaya to work with the states and get them to allocate massive plots of land to grow our own food,” the DAP leader concluded. – May 23, 2022.

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