by NURUL SUHAIDI / pic by TMR FILE
A GROUP of chicken breeders closed their farms and caused a shortage in raw chicken supply in the market as their first attempt at demanding the ceiling price be raised to RM9.90 per kg, according to a report by Utusan Malaysia yesterday.
The “black hand” group said the current ceiling price of RM8.90 is irrelevant considering higher operational cost, including the cost of chicken feed.
A source told the Malay daily that this was a “declaration of war”. They resumed operations today but the supply of chicken will still be rationed until the authorities comply with their request.
“This is to observe the situation and the government’s reaction. If the government agrees to raise the ceiling price, the market might not have a supply shortage like today (yesterday).
“However, they may still ration the chicken because the actual price should reach almost RM12 per kg,” the source said.
The chicken supply shortage continued to worsen in states such as Kedah, Negri Sembilan and Selangor due to farm closures.
Recently, several chicken processing factories in Terengganu also issued closure notices for two days starting yesterday.
A survey by Utusan Malaysia at the Chow Kit Market on Jalan Raja Bot, Kuala Lumpur, found that chicken traders had to close their stalls earlier than the usual 2pm, due to the shortage.
This issue had also prompted some traders to reserve fresh chicken supplies and sell them at RM13 per kg.
The daily previously revealed that a number of poultry industry cartels had intended to shut down farms on Saturday and Sunday to protest the government’s slow payout of the 60-sen chicken price subsidy.
However, the shut-down was denied to have any connection with the cartel. Instead, it was due to the slow growth of the chickens.
Nonetheless, various sources claimed that the reason given was a mere excuse. Retailers had also complained of low supplies because of the conspiracy.
The source said the cartel were scheming to close the farms once a month or change their holidays so that their plans would not be detected.
“This would anger the retailers and suppliers because we would not get the supply we deserve. I often receive complaints from small traders who do not fully understand the problem.
“Many asked how the situation reached this extent; their livelihood depends solely on the sale of chicken,” the source said.
There were also rumours that other livestock players would try the same tactics to make a profit, as most farmers are experiencing cost increase but their products are sold below the standard price.