Chickens can really skyrocket after bird flu, grain costs
Chicken is the most consumed meat in the world, but from the United States to Singapore, consumers are finding that it is becoming more and more expensive.
While it’s not the only food item to see a price spike, it means more pain for consumers as the costs of their favorites like fried chicken and buffalo wings also rise.
Several variables drive up the price of poultry.
The first is the war in Ukraine. The Russian invasion disrupted poultry exports from Ukraine to countries in Europe and the Middle East. A bigger shock, however, was the impact on cereals. Ukraine is a major producer of corn and wheat, which are components of chicken feed. With a key global source of supply cut off, this translates into significant pain for poultry farmers, as these ingredients account for the bulk of their chicken farming costs. In the UK, prices for a bird have jumped around 8% since the end of last year. Rising energy and transportation costs further compound the problem.
Feed maker group FEFAC expects feed production in the European Union to decline further this year, with chicken feed production expected to fall by up to 3%.
Bird flu, which can devastate chicken flocks, has had a major effect on production on farms around the world. Farmers who have struggled to stop the spread are being forced to implement mass cullings. In the United States alone, more than 38 million chickens and turkeys have been killed since early February in a huge outbreak. The UK faced its biggest bird flu outbreak last October. In France, one in 20 birds has been shot.
In Malaysia, which plans to ban the export of 3.6 million chickens a month from June 1, a major consideration is securing local supplies and capping soaring food prices, food prices food prices reaching their highest level since 2017 in April.
Before imposing the export ban, the government tried several ways to control chicken prices, including imposing price caps in February, promising subsidies of around $167 million to help ease the burden. food producers struggling with higher costs and abolishing approved permit requirements for poultry and wheat imports. But so far, only $11.4 million in subsidies have gone to chicken farmers, mostly smallholders. Some big companies are not interested in subsidies and want prices to be determined by the market, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Competition Commission is investigating reports that there are cartels controlling the price and production of chicken among big companies, Ismail said, promising tough action against those who sabotage supply. The investigation should be completed by the end of June. The government has also declared a “jihad” against intermediaries who manipulate supplies and prices. The Malaysian cabinet is due to discuss proposals on food security on Monday.