A group of chickens in a coop  Description automatically generated with medium confidence Photo credit: William Moreland on Unsplash

Kam heong chicken. Ayam masak merah. Chicken tikka masala. Malaysia has so many dishes that require chicken as its main ingredient but some of us may find it difficult to shop it for lately. Those who have managed to get their hands on chicken may have found that prices have risen recently.

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Photo credit: Brett Jordan on Unsplash

First it was potatoes, now it is chicken! If you all remember, awhile back there was a global shortage of potatoes that even led McDonalds to removing the ‘Large’ option for fries from its menu. Yikes.

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Photo credit: Finn Mund on Unsplash

Most Malaysians may not have been paying close attention to the current war in Ukraine, thinking that the country is too far off to affect us. Unfortunately we thought wrong because the effects of the war are even spilling over to our part of the world, with nations around the world struggling with rising food costs. India has restricted its export of wheat due to heat waves and Indonesia had a blanket ban on exports of crude palm oil and its refined products, only to reverse it lately.

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Photo credit: Henrique S. Ruzzon on Unsplash

Weather conditions and rising production costs have also led to a shortage of chicken supplies.

This has now led to Malaysia introducing a ban on chicken exports starting 1 June 2022 to control the prices of chicken domestically. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in a statement that the exportation of 3.6 million chickens would be halted until domestic prices and production stabilises.

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According to Bloomberg, Malaysia is the 49th largest exporter of poultry meat in the world, exporting $18.9 million worth of the product in 2020.

In fact, we did a bit of investigative journalism yesterday (i.e. looking for dinner ingredients) at our local supermarket, and there was no stock of chicken to be found, only chicken nuggets.

First a global pandemic, now this. We will all be saying ‘Ayam very hungry’ soon (pun intended). Please, can things get back to normal already?