KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 ― Waste from processing palm kernel was a cheap and viable alternative to chicken feed that was now nearly four times more expensive, said Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin.

Noting that the price of chicken feed has risen to RM1,500 per tonne from RM500 previously, the minister said this was among reasons that the cost of producing chicken meat in Malaysia and other countries have soared.

“Past research has shown that feeding fermented palm kernel cake (PKC) and high dietary fat to broilers, can be a good substitute for the imported feed which almost all commercial chicken farms use today,” she said in a statement today.

Zuraida added that her ministry was in discussions with stakeholders to divert PKC exports for local use, noting that these were typically used in cattle farming in Europe.

She added that the ministry would also work with relevant agencies to ensure the PKC could be readily available to the local market and to raise its quality in order to “make it the preferred choice for chicken breeders”.

The government has temporarily banned the export of chicken starting tomorrow after rising feed prices disrupted local production.

Shortages of chicken supply has also led to some traders selling above the ceiling price of RM8.90/kg set by the government in February.

The Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry (MAFI) said last week that it is expediting subsidy payments to chicken breeders in order to bolster domestic production.