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Fear of consuming fish triggers chicken price hike in Malaysia

by 5m Editor
25 January 2005, at 12:00am

MALAYSIA - The fear of consuming fish has led to an increase in chicken prices in Malaysia. This comes in the wake of the tsunami disaster in late December last year.

Fear of consuming fish triggers chicken price hike in Malaysia - MALAYSIA - The fear of consuming fish has led to an increase in chicken prices in Malaysia. This comes in the wake of the tsunami disaster in late December last year.

The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry revealed it received complaints regarding the recent increase in chicken prices and that consumers were worried.

According to Minister Datuk Shafie Apdal, his officers had compiled a report on the supply and prices of chicken in the market after meeting with suppliers, and would announce the ceiling price of chicken soon.

"We will implement the ceiling price before Chinese New Year and make sure there is enough supply," he said, adding that the ministry would simultaneously announce the prices of controlled items for the upcoming festival.

On Jan 4, Shafie assured consumers that although prices of some items may rise slightly due to the tsunami calamity, it should not be significant.

The ministry, he had said, would monitor the situation to ensure that wholesalers and retailers did not arbitrarily hike prices.

"They should not use the recent tragedy to increase prices of foodstuff but instead absorb the additional costs.

"If there is a shortage of any item, the ministry will import them," he had said.

According to the Federation of Livestock Farmers' Association of Malaysia official Yap Kim Hwah, the demand for chicken has risen while fish prices had gone down.

"The price fluctuates but this time it has reached the ceiling of RM6 per kg.

"We have to increase production and this causes the price hike.

"We hope by next month, the prices of fish will stabilize and automatically return chicken prices to normal. We hope consumers understand the situation," Yap said.

Housewife Ananthie Ramasamy, 38, said she did not feel the pinch of the price hike but thought it was unfair.

"I still buy fish despite the fear surrounding it, but for people who consume chicken everyday, the price increase might burn a hole in their pockets," she said.

"The prices of fish have decreased. I can get tenggiri for RM14 per kg now, compared to RM19 before."

Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations president N. Marimuthu said Malaysia had been importing 82 per cent of its fish from Thailand, Indonesia and India.

"We do not know the exact situation of the fishermen following the disaster.

"And it will take a long time for them to get back on track. The public has to be patient until the price of chicken stabilizes.

"We export an average of 800,000 chickens a day. I suggest that we hold back some of our exports for the local markets to stabilize the prices," he added.

Meanwhile, in Johor Baru, a surging demand for chicken has pushed the wholesale price by 50 sen from the usual RM3.50 per kg.

Johor State Poultry and Livestock Farming Association chairman Ching Tong Joy said the price of chicken has risen to RM4 since the beginning of the year.

"This could be due to a shortage of supply and a higher demand for poultry owing to the tsunami disaster.

"Consumers are steering away from fish and turning to chicken."

In Kota Kinabalu, the short supply of chicken has caused the average price to rise.

Consumer Carolyn Rodrigues said that while the prices differed in different locations, it had become more expensive.

"Some places sell at RM10 per kg," she said.

"I hope that some cost- control measures would be introduced as it is quite costly for the average household."

Source: eFeedLink - 25th January 2005

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