Chicken has always been one of Singapore’s favourite and easiest choice of protein, and when Malaysia’s government decided to ban the export of up to 3.6 million live and fresh chicken in June last year, our government sourced for alternative options including countries like Thailand and Indonesia.
Although Malaysia has since lifted the ban and more countries are supplying chicken, both fresh and frozen, many are still finding the price on the high side especially as Chinese New Year approaches.
During the recent parliamentary session, Tanjong Pagar GRC member of Parliament Joan Pereira asked Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu whether there are ongoing efforts to further increase the supply of fresh chickens from Malaysia or Indonesia in view of the increased demand during the festive season.
Pereira received a written reply from the Minister who said that, “As Singapore imports more than 90% of our food, we are not able to insulate ourselves entirely from price fluctuations. Importers buffer for the expected increases in demand during festive periods, by bringing in more supply from overseas ahead of time.”
Minister Fu explained that to ensure a stable and adequate supply of chicken, Singapore Food Agency (SFA) works with the industry to accredit new sources of chicken that meet the food safety requirements.
As of today, Singapore’s supply of chicken is diversified with import sources from 25 countries, including Indonesia which was approved to export frozen and chilled chicken to Singapore in June 2022. PT Charoen Pokphand Indonesia has the approval to export frozen chicken and heat-processed chicken meat products, while PT Ciomas Adisatwa has the approval to export frozen chicken to Singapore.
Pereira also wanted to know whether these efforts are able to keep the prices of fresh chicken in Singapore stable.
“The price of food items, including chicken, is subjected to global market forces of demand and supply, which could be affected by geostrategic developments, supply chain disruptions and policy decisions by foreign governments,” added the Minister, who also encouraged consumers to be flexible in opting for other forms of chicken such as frozen or processed chicken, or other protein options.
Radin Mas SMC member of parliament Melvin Yong filed a similar question pertaining to food prices in view of the upcoming Lunar New Year festive period.
He asked the Minister whether the prices of popular food items, such as seafood and poultry, are expected to rise significantly, and whether more public education will be done to encourage consumers to consider purchasing food items imported from non-traditional source countries.
The Minister for Sustainability and the Environment shared that like the cost of many other items, food prices are determined by supply and demand conditions.
“In recent months, factors such as rising energy and production costs, supply disruptions caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, COVID-19 pandemic and policies by foreign governments, and varying weather conditions have caused inflationary pressures. In addition, higher demand for popular food items such as specific types of seafood and poultry during festive periods is expected to contribute to higher prices as seen in past years,” explained Minister Fu.
In the same written reply to MP Yong, Minister Fu encouraged consumers to consider different food types and said that SFA has been continually putting out public communications and facilitating the promotion of food from alternative sources. SFA will also continue to regularly remind consumers and the industry to be flexible and be adaptable to different food types and forms; whether it is fresh, chilled, frozen, or processed.
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