KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke urged the government to open up land immediately to cultivate grain for a steady supply of chicken feed.

"The government must act immediately to ensure that the supply of chicken in the market is always sufficient by resolving the problem of cost pressures among farmers immediately," Loke said in a statement this morning.

"Although the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry has provided an allocation of RM528.52 million for a subsidy of RM0.60 sen/kilogram, this rate needs to be reviewed in line with the pressure of excessive bran costs.

"Subsidy assistance should also be implemented without bureaucracy and channeled to farmers immediately."

Loke said the government must act immediately by involving all state governments to prepare land sites on a large scale as soon as possible for the purpose of grain cultivation to reduce dependence on imports.

Malaysia imports about 60 per cent of its food needs including wheat and corn which are used for chicken feed, and with the war in Russia and Ukraine, this has been affected by high import prices.

It was previously reported that the government's delay in providing subsidies resulted in a group of poultry industry cartels halting operations over the weekend.

However, traders have also said that the boycott had little effect as chicken supply was already scarce and they had no choice but to increase their prices to keep their businesses afloat.

Loke said that the government's move to abolish approved permits (AP) for food imports will not solve the problem of rising food prices and ensure supply, as all countries are struggling with their own domestic food security issue.

"Major producing countries will focus on their own needs first. Furthermore, with the weak value of the ringgit, any food imports from other countries involve higher purchase prices," he said.