Malaysia has already partially lifted its ban by allowing poultry producers and importers in Singapore to bring in live free-range chickens. On Aug 1, Malaysia announced that its chicken supply had stabilised and that it now can export the surplus. However, no actual lifting of the full ban has been declared.
If Singaporean consumers find that Indonesia’s chickens are of similar quality and are reasonably priced compared to Malaysia’s, Singapore will likely continue to import from Indonesia no matter what Malaysia does. However, Indonesia will find tough competition against Malaysia and Thailand in the poultry market.
Singapore already has an adequate supply of frozen chicken. When Malaysia lifts its ban, Singapore will continue to rely on Malaysia for live chickens. In the long run, Indonesia can only compete in chicken exports if it can somehow export live chickens to Singapore. The ongoing discussions to set up chicken farms in Batam is only the first step in making this possible.
Whether Indonesia is prepared to compete with Malaysia in this sector, Southeast Asian countries are likely to continue to diversify their food supply given the vagaries of climate change and global instability.
Siwage Dharma Negara is senior fellow and coordinator of the Indonesia Studies Programme, and the coordinator of the APEC Study Centre at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute.
Peh Ko Hsu is an undergraduate in Nanyang Technological University’s Bachelor of Social Science in Economics programme, and a research intern with ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute.
This commentary first appeared on ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute blog The Fulcrum.
Source: Channel News Asia