KUALA LUMPUR, April 20 — The Federation of Livestock Farmers' Associations of Malaysia (FLFAM) has claimed that the cost of raw materials used in chicken feed has risen by more than 40 per cent since last year, along with an unspecified increase in labour costs.

In a statement today, FLFAM said the price of corn increased by 41.3 per cent, from RM920 per metric tonne in January 2020, to RM1,300 per metric tonne in March 2021.

FLFAM said, in the same period, the cost of soybean meal rose from RM1,650 per metric tonne to RM2,600 per metric tonne — a 57.6 per cent increase — and the cost of crude palm oil had swelled by 43.3 per cent, from RM3,000 per metric tonne to RM4,300 per metric tonne.

The association’s comments come on the heels of a surge in chicken prices in recent weeks.

“Labour costs also increased during the movement control orders as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,” it added.

It said the need to comply with Covid-19 related standard operating procedures, and the fact that many farm workers returned to their home countries, contributed to the labour price hike.

“Workers returned to their home countries during the Covid-19 pandemic due to various reasons, including their concern for their families.

“Farms are also unable to get replacement workers, resulting in existing workers having to be paid extra for overtime work,” it said.

Last week, reports surfaced of the price of chicken increasing all over the country, with poultry farmers in the Klang Valley claiming prices have gone up by at least RM1.50 per kg since April 1.

Although the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs has fixed the price of live chicken, standard chicken and super chicken during the Aidilfitri festive period, the price of chicken parts which have been cut, such as the breasts, legs and thighs are not controlled.

FLFAM is the umbrella association representing the livestock industry across all of Malaysia. Established 41 years ago, it aims to safeguard the welfare and interest of farmers, livestock producers and consumers.