Chicken meat shortage may lead to more expensive chicken rice, say M’sian vendors

Food prices have continuously increased throughout 2022, resulting in the price hike of some of our favourite hawker delicacies, such as the roti canai. The bad news kept pouring in when Putrajaya announced that they would be halting the export of 3.6 million chickens a month starting from June 1 to deal with the shortage of chicken. And now, local restaurateurs and hawkers, especially chicken rice stall operators are also starting to feel the heat of the issue. 

States facing shortages in chicken meat, which affects the chicken rice businesses

On May 19, many states including Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Kedah and Perlis were reported to expect a shortage of the protein source due to the closure of a livestock farm. According to Sin Chew Daily, many chicken rice stall operators in the Cheras area have been warned about the impending shortage, which may fearfully strike these businesses. 

The high demand following the supply shortage has furthermore increased the cost of the chicken meat to RM 10.50 per kilogram. This price surge was simply not feasible for many of these chicken rice stall owners as they face the burden of increasing their selling prices. The chickens sold were also reported to be smaller than usual. Not only the stall operators, but the shortage poses a threat to market chicken sellers as well. 

Based on an interview conducted by Sin Chew Daily, the owner of a chicken rice stall in Cheras named Ho told them that the price hike in chicken rice will be inevitable if the problem persists, which will not be well received by consumers. 

“I require more than 20 chickens daily to meet the demand for white cut and roasted chicken rice. If the supply acquired becomes less, so will the sales and a chicken rice shop should not always be out of chicken,” she said. 

Factors include high demand, increase in raw materials price and poultry disease

According to State Infrastructure, Public Utilities, Modernisation of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Committee chairman Izham Hashim, the high demand for chicken meat and the increase in the price of raw materials to produce chicken feed are among the factors that contribute to the shortage occurring in Selangor. Furthermore, he stated that a poultry disease also contributed to the insufficient chicken supply. 

States including Kuala Lumpur and Selangor were reported to expect chicken meat shortages. Image credits: The Star

The matter has also come to Prime Minister Ismail Sabri’s attention as he announced several short-term solutions to deal with the price surge and supply shortage of chicken in the country. He added that the government was aware of reports that there are cartels controlling prices and chicken production among the larger companies, which was adding fuel to the fire. 

He said that the Malaysian Competition Commission (MyCC) has already been investigating the matter and that it is expected to be settled in June.

“If it is found that there is a cartel, the government will take legal action against them,” said Ismail. 

First, roti canai and now, chicken rice. Malaysians are warned to be on the lookout for more food prices increase in the future. 

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Also read: “My roti canai is still 50 sen,” Melaka vendor strives to keep prices low so that even the poor can afford to eat

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