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COMMENT | Chickenomics in Keluarga Malaysia

COMMENT | What is chickensh*t economics? That's when the costs of chicken farming keep shooting up but the government keeps forcing breeders to lower selling prices. Eventually, it leads to disaster. This has been going on for over one year in the poultry industry, and now some farms are closing shop. The root problem is that the cost of chicken feed is no longer, as they say, “chicken feed”. Mafi, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries, itself revealed that prices of imported grain feed (which is 70 percent of farming costs) have tripled from RM500 to RM1,900 per tonne in some cases. The weakening ringgit and Ukraine crisis have only worsened this inflation. Yet, the ceiling price for chickens set by the Skim Harga Maksimum Keluarga Malaysia, (SHMKM) has been steadily reduced from RM9.50/kg during Deepavali 2021 to RM9.30 (December 2021), further to RM9.10 (January 2022) and then to RM8.90 (February to June 2022). This is obviously unsustainable. Does the government expect farmers to keep suffering losses? Even the Mydin boss has said that the ceiling price should be raised to RM9.90. Keluarga Malaysia may be a good slogan to win votes but it has been steadily strangling chicken farmers, who apparently don’t belong to this loving “Malaysian Family”. Is it because most large-scale farmers don’t belong to the right political party? Or community? Mafi admitted way back in September last year that the answer to keeping chicken prices low was for the government to...

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