Malaysia cuts export of chickens as global rise in food export curbs sparks concerns

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Kuala Lumpur, May 24 (IANS) Malaysia says it will cut the export of chickens from the start of June because of shortages in the country, BBC reported.

Elsewhere in Asia, India has banned wheat exports, while Indonesia has blocked overseas sales of palm oil.

It comes as the world faces the worst food crisis in decades following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

One agriculture expert has highlighted concerns about the potential rise of so-called “food nationalism” by governments in the region, BBC reported.

Malaysian shoppers have seen chicken prices surge in recent months, while some retailers have put limits on how much of the meat customers can buy.

On Monday, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the South East Asian country will stop exporting as many as 3.6 million chickens every month “until domestic prices and production stabilise”.

“The government’s priority is our own people,” he said in a statement.

Neighbouring Singapore, where Malaysian imports account for around a third of its chicken supplies, looks set to be hit especially hard by the move, BBC reported.

Almost all the birds are imported live before they are slaughtered and chilled in Singapore.

Later on Monday, the Singapore Food Agency encouraged shoppers to buy frozen chicken and moved to discourage panic-buying.

“While there may be temporary disruptions to the supply of chilled chicken, frozen chicken options remain available to mitigate the shortfall,” the agency said in a statement. “We also advise consumers to buy only what they need.”

Malaysia’s chicken export ban is the latest development in the global food crisis.