If you’ve been keeping up with the news lately, you’ll know that Singapore is expecting a drop in the supply of fresh chickens from Malaysia in the upcoming days.
Recently on Monday (23 May), Malaysia announced that they will be halting the export of fresh chickens to Singapore until the domestic prices and production of chicken in Malaysia stabilise.
And for Singapore, where around 34% of our chicken imports, or 3.6 million chickens a month come from Malaysia, there’s no doubt that the news caused much panic for many Singaporeans across the island.
And what do Singaporeans do when they get anxious?
Uh, stockpile lah. We saw it right before the Circuit Breaker in 2020 and we’re seeing it again.
However, amidst the uncertainty and fear of not being able to sink one’s teeth right into tender drumsticks every day, FairPrice has stepped up to let Singaporeans know that there is absolutely no need for us to stockpile chickens.
Because let’s face it: Eating five fresh chickens before they go bad might put you off from eating chicken for the rest of your life.
But more importantly, FairPrice also assured the public that it has a sufficient supply of frozen chicken to last the country four months.
FairPrice’s Stock of Frozen Chicken
According to FairPrice’s deputy group chief executive officer Elaine Heng, apart from the current supply of frozen chicken that FairPrice has, another two months’ worth of supply is on the way to Singapore as well.
She told The Straits Times that FairPrice has yet to decide if it will impose limits on the quantity of chicken or other similar products that each consumer can buy, and that the company will continue to monitor the situation.
Heng, who is also the CEO of retail business for FairPrice, explained that there is still sufficient stock to go around without the need to set such limits, and that the options of frozen and chilled chicken are still available.
However, she also mentioned that if it becomes necessary to place limits on how much consumers can buy, FairPrice may consider implementing such limits.
Minister Desmond Tan’s Opinion: No Need to Stockpile, Enough Chicken in Singapore
Apart from that, Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Desmond Tan also echoed similar sentiments and encouraged Singaporeans to not engage in panic buying wherever possible.
He also brought up how Singapore has a sufficient supply of chicken in Singapore despite the possible impact that Malaysia halting chicken exports may have on us.
According to the minister, around 70% of Singapore’s total chicken exports are frozen chicken that comes from countries other than Malaysia, allowing Singaporeans to still have a steady stock of chicken in a time like this.
I mean, frozen and fresh both can eat, right?
He also mentioned that a large number of importers and retailers in Singapore have since pre-ordered chicken, and the stocks should be arriving in Singapore in a few weeks’ time.
He then emphasised how Singaporeans should still continue to purchase their chicken products “as per normal”, and that there is no need to panic-buy large quantities of chicken since there is enough to go around.
Importing Chicken from Other Countries
In addition to that, the minister also revealed that Singapore is currently sourcing other possible sources of chicken.
For example, Singapore can import chilled chicken from countries such as Australia.
He also highlighted that the government will try and see what help can be rendered to food and beverage (F&B) businesses that can only sell chilled chicken if their businesses are affected.
Regarding Possible Increase in Price of Fish and Chicken
The Straits Times also asked if Singapore might see an increase in the price of fish, given that it has been the trend in Malaysia due to the lack of supply of fish in water bodies around the country.
To that, he replied that Singapore has ensured that we have a variety of sources when it comes to importing food products, and that we can still look to other sources even when one country is experiencing difficulty in exporting their products to us.
He also added that we should be prepared for various forms of disruption to our food supply, and that we have to work together while remaining perseverant and be open to adjusting to new norms in order to push through difficult times together as a country.
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On the other hand, when asked whether or not FairPrice will increase the price of chicken, Heng brought up how FairPrice lowered the price of eggs and announced a promotion on oil prices not long ago in spite of the rising food costs.
She then said that the group is discussing how it can make up for these costs, and that it will try to ensure that the economic climate as of now is taken into account as much as possible.
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