As supplies of the staple food deplete from neighbouring Malaysia, where production has been interrupted by a global feed scarcity, restaurants and street stalls in the city-state are considering raising prices or shutting down entirely.
Malaysia’s export prohibition is the latest indicator of worsening global food shortages as countries struggle to shore up local supplies and control food inflation in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, extreme weather, and pandemic-related supply disruptions.
Protests have already erupted in Argentina, Indonesia, Greece, and Iran as a result of rising food prices.
Malaysia’s ban will be “catastrophic” for vendors like me. The ban would mean we are no longer able to sell. It’s like McDonald’s with no burgers.Daniel Tan, owner of a chain of seven stalls, OK Chicken Rice
He added that his booths generally get live birds from Malaysia, but that they would have to convert to frozen chicken within the week, and that they predict a “significant drop in sales” when people respond to the lower quality of the meal.
Singapore, although being one of Asia’s wealthiest countries, has a geographical area of only 730 square kilometres and relies significantly on imported food, electricity, and other supplies. According to data from the Singapore Food Agency, nearly all of its chicken is imported: 34% from Malaysia, 49% from Brazil, and 12% from the United States (SFA).
The SFA claims that frozen chicken from Brazil can make up for the shortage, and advises consumers to choose other protein sources such as seafood.
Malaysia, which is also experiencing high pricing, has decided to put a halt to chicken exports until local output and costs stabilise.