Sibu MP: Poultry farmers want market forces to determine egg prices, more pork import licenses to be issued

Ling (seated third left) with members of the two associations.

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By William Isau

SIBU, Dec 12: Poultry farmers here want the government to do away with the ceiling price for chicken eggs. Instead, they hope the government would free-float the market based on supply and demand as a long-term solution to lower the price of eggs.

Speaking to reporters after chairing a dialogue session with the Sibu Poultry and Livestock Association and Sibu Butchers Association today, Sibu MP Oscar Ling said farmers are confident that egg prices will go down in a free market.

Ling said the average ceiling price for a tray of chicken eggs is RM12.90 but between RM15 to RM18 if the price is free-float.

“They are willing to compete in the free market when imported eggs are at a lower price. Egg shortage is happening in the country and not just in Sibu. This is because farmers are limiting production due to high production costs. They are already selling it below the cost price. If they produce more, they will lose more,” he said.

The high import price for chicken feed, he said, had prompted farmers to produce fewer eggs.

“About 95 per cent of chicken feed is imported, and chicken feed constitutes 70 per cent of the total cost for livestock. Farmers are now actually selling below the cost price, and if they produce more (eggs), they will lose more, so they have to resort to limiting production,” he said.

Ling said the long-term solution to overcome the egg shortage would be for the government to formulate a policy to allow the country to produce its own chicken feed by about 50 per cent.

“Producing 50 per cent of chicken feed would be good enough. I hope the government would protect local industry first as we cannot always depend on imported chicken feed,” he said.

On the pork shortage in Sibu, he said farmers here want the government to issue more pork import licenses which could also help lower the price of pork.

“Sibu and Miri are now relying on imported pigs from Kuching as farms in the two places have been affected by African Swine Fever (ASF),” he said.

Ling said pig farmers also wanted the government to set up a special fund to protect their businesses under a proposed agricultural insurance.

Pig farmers also want the government to set up a loan scheme to restart their business post-ASF. — DayakDaily