SINGAPORE, May 26 — Consumers do not need to rush to stock up on chicken as Singapore’s current supply is sufficient, with more stock coming in soon, Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Desmond Tan said today.

Tan gave the assurance during a doorstop interview after visiting NTUC Fairprice’s fresh food distribution centre at Upper Thomson Road, in light of Malaysia’s announcement on Monday that it will halt chicken exports from June 1.

About a third of chickens consumed in Singapore come from Malaysia, with most of them sent alive and slaughtered here.

Tan noted that about 70 per cent of Singapore’s chicken imports are sourced from “many, many other countries”, after the authorities had diversified the source markets over the years.

In addition, importers and retailers have already pre-ordered more supply which will arrive “in the next couple of weeks”, he added.

Tan also said any “over-purchasing or hoarding” will lead to problems in replenishing the shelves, regardless of how much stock of frozen chicken is available.

He also encouraged the public to consider switching to other forms of protein, including frozen and processed chicken as well as meat and seafood.

Asked about businesses which are heavily reliant on fresh chicken, Tan suggested that they could consider switching to frozen chicken meat.

“But if there are certain businesses that can only serve chilled chicken then of course, if their businesses are affected, we will see how we can help them to tide through the period,” he said.

Wholesale fish prices are also rising in Singapore, after prices have shot up in Malaysia, amid reports of dwindling fish stocks in the country’s waters.

Malaysia accounts for 25 per cent of imported seafood in Singapore in 2021, according to figures from Singapore Food Agency.

Asked whether the fish issue was a cause of worry, Tan reiterated that Singapore can expect some form of food supply disruption “from time to time” for various reasons.

Diversification of supply and augmenting local source of food is key to food security, he added.

Four months’ supply of frozen chicken: NTUC Tan said the authorities are monitoring the situation of chicken supply and prices closely, but no price increases have been observed.

Elaine Heng, chief executive for retail business at FairPrice Group, said that the supermarket chain is looking at how “we can absorb these costs”.

She noted that the chain has reduced egg prices and conducted price promotions for oil.

“So on the same topic of chicken, we are doing our best to take into consideration the current environment and to moderate the cost of living to our best abilities.” Heng also said the chain does not plan to impose any purchase limits on chicken as it is still able to replenish stocks.

“We would actually potentially consider this in consultation with other retailers and the government agencies,” she said.

Heng also said FairPrice has a stockpile of four months of frozen chicken, with another two months worth coming in soon.

“We’d like to encourage our customers to consider frozen chicken and other alternative protein options.” — TODAY