JAKARTA: Indonesian companies will start to export chicken products to Singapore “really soon”, said Indonesia’s Ministry of Agriculture in response to CNA’s queries on Wednesday (Jul 6).
At the same time, the ministry said that it is working with more businesses to obtain permission to export chicken products to the neighbouring country.
This comes after Singapore announced on Jun 30 that it has added Indonesia as a new source for the import of chilled, frozen and processed chicken.
According to the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), three companies from Indonesia were given permission to export chicken meat and chicken meat products into the country.
Two of the companies are Indonesian subsidiaries of Thailand-based food conglomerate Charoen Pokphand, while the other is a subsidiary of Indonesian frozen food giant Japfa Comfeed.
Mdm Tri Mela Sari, a director at Indonesia’s Ministry of Agriculture told CNA that the three accredited companies have yet to export their products to Singapore.
“How soon these companies can start exporting chickens to Singapore will depend on B2B (business-to-business) negotiations between the Indonesian companies and their (Singaporean) counterparts. How much (chicken meat) would be exported will also depend on the B2B negotiations,” she said.
“We will start exporting really soon. We will let you know when once (the deal) is finalised.”
The ministry’s director of animal product processing and marketing added that there are 12 other Indonesian companies which are currently seeking permission to export chicken products to Singapore. All applications have been submitted to the SFA.
“We are now waiting for the SFA to begin their audit process. The government hopes (the audit) can be conducted soon,” said Mdm Mela Sari.
Last month, a team from the SFA visited Indonesia to audit Indonesia’s food safety and animal health controls. The team visited various facilities such as farms, quarantine stations and laboratories to better understand the regulatory systems in place.
The SFA said that individual establishments and farms needed to be evaluated and approved, with detailed documentary evaluations and on-site audits for verification.
According to an estimate by the Ministry of Agriculture last month, Indonesia’s chicken meat production throughout in 2022 is expected to reach 5.9 million tonnes.
The domestic demand for chicken meat is estimated to be 5.3 million tonnes this year. This means that there would be an average monthly surplus of around 50,000 tonnes.
“We are experiencing an oversupply (of chicken) domestically. Our surplus is quite a lot,” Mr Nasrullah, the agriculture ministry’s director-general of livestock and animal health who goes by one name, told CNA.
According to the ministry, Indonesia exported around 500 tonnes of chicken last year mainly to its neighbouring country, Timor Leste.
Singapore imported 214,400 tonnes of chicken meat last year, about a third were from Malaysia.
Malaysia has put in place an export ban of up to 3.6 million chickens a month, following supply and pricing issues domestically, with some chicken traders selling whole chickens above the price ceiling to cover their costs.
Following the export ban, Singapore announced that it will source chickens from other places, including Indonesia and Thailand.
There have been calls from Malaysia’s chicken breeders for Putrajaya to lift the ban, or risk losing out on the Singapore market.
Mr Alvino Antonio Warjiantono, chairman of Indonesia’s National People's Farmers Association (PPRN), said Singapore’s move to add Indonesia as a source for chicken meat will boost other countries’ confidence in Indonesian chicken products.
“Singapore has a high standard when it comes to the import of their food. I hope this will boost the world’s confidence towards chickens supplied from Indonesia. If the export to Singapore goes well, I hope we can further expand (Indonesia’s exports) to the rest of the world,” he told CNA.
However, Mr Warjiantono noted that Indonesia will have a hard time competing with Malaysia if the export ban is lifted.
“It will be difficult for Indonesian chicken producers to keep up with the prices offered by their Malaysian counterparts” he said.
One of the reasons is the fluctuating prices of chicken feed in Indonesia, which at times can be 60 per cent higher than in Malaysia.
Mr Warjiantono also noted that nearly all of the Malaysian exports to Singapore were live chickens, which are much cheaper than frozen and processed chicken meat.
“The government needs to address issues like fluctuating chicken feed prices and high costs of transport if Indonesia wants to be a key player in the global market going forward,” he said.
On the contrary, Mr Achmad Dawami, chairman of the Indonesian Poultry Breeders Association (GPPU) is confident that Singapore will continue to buy from Indonesia even after Malaysia lifts its export ban.
“Although Malaysia has the geographical advantage which keeps transport costs low and allows it to export live chickens, the ban has made Singapore realise that it needs to diversify how it sources its chicken,” he said.
“As long as we can show Singapore that we are a reliable trading partner, our export deal is here to stay.”