Help us to help you: Poultry farmers tells govt they need subsidies, loans to keep farms open amid price control extension

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Mardi officer Umar Rudin feeds chickens at a farm in Kuala Lumpur November 5, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Mardi officer Umar Rudin feeds chickens at a farm in Kuala Lumpur November 5, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 3 — The Federation of Livestock Farmers’ Associations of Malaysia (FLFAM) today called on the government to provide subsidies and soft loans to farmers so that they can make up for losses sustained throughout the Keluarga Malaysia Maximum Family Price Scheme (SHMKM).

In a statement, FLFAM said that the price controls on the broiler and egg industry may cause smaller farms to stop operating in the coming months, as they have been losing substantial amounts of income.

“The rising cost of chicken and egg production is real and the industry is still suffering losses.

“In addition, the industry is still waiting for financial assistance such as soft loans or feed cost subsidies from the government.

“The continued loss of farmers’ income will affect the production of the cheapest source of protein in our country. The authorities need to be concerned about the country’s food security,” FLFAM said.

It also called on the government to shorten price control periods, instead of extending them, so that the industry can continue operating according to “the economic forces of supply and demand”.

On December 31 last year, the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) announced that the SHMKM would be extended until February 4 — focusing on the control of prices for chicken, eggs, and vegetables.

FLFAM said that the livestock industry was “shocked and disappointed” with the announcement, as they had previously given full cooperation to KPDNHEP minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi with the understanding that the SHMKM will end on 31 December 2021.

“Although the chicken and egg production industry is still experiencing economic challenges, the industry had borne sacrifices of income loss for the nation,” FLFAM said.

Prices for chicken and egg, along with many other essential foods such as vegetables, have been on a steep rise since early last year, affected by the various government restrictions to keep the Covid-19 pandemic under control.

The rise in price caused an immense public backlash, and the government kicked off the SHMKM on December 7, 2021, controlling the price of chicken, eggs and several popular vegetables.

For the record, poultry farmers have repeatedly stated that the rise in chicken and egg prices is due to the hike in chicken feed prices and labour costs which have gone up significantly since the pandemic hit — with government checks attesting to the fact.

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