KUALA LUMPUR: A lifting of the ban on chicken exports is on the cards, with a review being conducted by the government.

Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee said any lifting of the ban would be effective Aug 31.

“As of now, the ban on exporting chicken (commercial broiler) is still in force and is temporary until the production and price of chicken fully stabilises.

“Any decision to allow the export of chicken (commercial broiler) will be decided by the government based on a study to determine where the stock stands and how production is at the farm level,” he told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Kiandee said the government had introduced intervention measures on June 1 to stabilise chicken supply and prices following shortages.

He said the review would include whether to end subsidies given to poultry farmers and chicken egg producers up to Aug 31.

The ban is said to affect the export of some 3.6 million birds from Malaysia worth some RM84.24mil.

Prior to it, Singapore imported about a third of its chicken, or more than two million birds per month, from Malaysia.

Kiandee said the ban on free-range chickens, hens, coloured birds, day-old chicks (DOC), parent stock broilers, DOC layer and value-added chicken products were lifted on June 15 but subject to health certification from the Veterinary Services Department.

Kiandee said the government had allocated RM1.1bil in subsidies for local chicken breeders from Feb 5 to Aug 31 this year.

“As at July 29, a total of 8,970 applications worth RM748mil in subsidies were approved,” he said, adding that this was the first time the government provided subsidies to poultry farmers.

Meanwhile, poultry breeders in Johor, which is the country’s largest producer of chicken, said they were ready to resume exports to Singapore.

Johor Small and Medium Poultry Breeders Association president Lim Ka Cheng said the interim move to stop chicken exports had proven useful in stabilising the supply and price of the meat.

“We are positive about meeting the demand for chicken as there is now a surplus in the market and prices have also dropped. Despite the government’s ceiling price of RM9.40, some hypermarkets are selling chicken for as low as RM6 per kg,” he said when contacted.

Poultry breeders had previously urged the government to lift the chicken export ban or risk losing out on the Singapore market.

Lim said chicken breeders were still facing issues such as a shortage of workers and high production costs which he added could contribute to “future problems”.

“The government’s requirements for hiring foreign workers are quite strict and it is difficult for small- and medium-scale farm owners to meet them. We are worried this would lead the farmers into hiring illegal foreigners as locals are just not interested to work in poultry farms. If the shortage of workers goes on, it will surely affect the supply of chicken,” he said.