Indonesia seeks to export chickens to shortage-stricken Singapore

A worker feeds chickens with maggots at a Biomagg office in Depok on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia November 23, 2021. REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana

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SINGAPORE/JAKARTA, June 20 (Reuters) – Indonesian authorities hope to reach an agreement with Singapore to start exporting chickens within weeks, officials said, as the city-state scrambles to find new other sources of supply after another neighbour, Malaysia, restricted sales.

In a further sign of growing global food shortages and supply chain issues, Malaysia halted chicken exports this month until local production and soaring costs stabilise.

The move has had an impact in Singapore with restaurants and street stalls raising prices for its de facto national dish, chicken rice. Read more

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Susiwijono Moegiarso, a senior official with Indonesia’s Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs, said authorities had held “technical talks” with Singapore and hoped exports could begin this month.

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) said in a statement that it was “working closely” with Indonesian authorities on accrediting the country as a potential source of chicken imports.

Indonesia, the largest and most populous country in Southeast Asia with over 270 million people, currently has a surplus of chicken production.

Indonesia produces 55 to 60 million birds a week, with a surplus of about 15 to 20 percent after domestic consumption, Achmad Dawami, chairman of the Indonesian Poultry Breeders’ Association, told Reuters.

Exports to Singapore, which has an estimated demand of 3.6 to 4 million birds per month, could help fill the gap, Dawami said.

Singapore wanted to import live chickens to keep their national slaughterhouses operational, Dawami said, noting that Indonesian producers preferred to export slaughtered chicken as they lacked experience in shipping live poultry.

“Hopefully in the next couple of weeks there would be a realization, if we have to wait months we will miss the momentum,” Dawami said.

Malaysia decided to partially lift its export ban on certain premium chickens last week.

But the ban on exporting commercial broiler chicken – which makes up the majority of Singapore’s chicken imports from Malaysia – and other types of chicken products will remain.

Prices for chicken, one of Malaysia’s cheapest sources of protein, have soared in recent months as a global feed shortage exacerbated by the Russian-Ukrainian war disrupts production.

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Reporting by Chen Lin in Singapore and Bernadette Christina Munthe in Jakarta Editing by Ed Davies

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