KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will import eggs as a short-term measure to alleviate a local supply shortage, said Agriculture and Food Security Minister Mohamad Sabu on Tuesday (Dec 6).
In a statement, he said that the ministry is aware of the need for a steady supply of eggs as they are a popular source of protein for Malaysians, with an average of 968 million eggs consumed monthly.
“In the short term and immediate basis, the ministry has identified several sources from outside to ensure the supply of eggs required in the market.
"The ministry will ensure that the eggs brought in are free from disease and meet the standards set. All protocols and procedures set by the government must be followed without compromise,” according to the statement.
The minister said that the initiative to import eggs was not to put pressure on the local industry players but to ensure that the supply of eggs in the country was not interrupted and the welfare of the people was looked after.
“The need to bring in chicken eggs from outside will be reviewed once the supply of chicken eggs has stabilised,” he said.
He added that he has directed the secretary general of the ministry to look at the impact of importing chicken eggs from overseas on existing local players. He also asked Agrobank to submit proposals to help suppliers and small entrepreneurs to remain competitive.
Agrobank is a Malaysian government-owned bank that comes under the purview of the Minister of Finance with a focus on the agricultural sector.
“The ministry is always taking various approaches to guarantee the country's chicken egg supply is stable and sold at a competitive price.
“The ministry is confident that the issue of chicken egg supply shortages can be resolved in the near future with the cooperation of various parties,” said Mr Mohamad.
The retail price of Grade A eggs was previously set at RM0.45 each, Grade B (RM0.43) and Grade C (RM0.41) in peninsular Malaysia. As for Sabah and Sarawak, the prices would differ based on the district.
Grade A eggs weigh between 65g to 69.9g, while Grade B and Grade C range between 60g to 64.9g as well as 55g to 59.9g respectively.
According to local media reports, there has been a shortage of standard eggs in the markets in the last few months.
The Federation of Livestock Farmers Associations of Malaysia deputy president Lee Yoon Yeau was quoted as saying by The Star that the situation would not improve unless the government floated the prices of eggs that are currently regulated and leave it to market forces.
According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), the inflation for the food and non-alcoholic beverages group recorded an increase of 7.1 per cent in October this year compared to the same period last year.
The subgroup of milk, cheese and eggs showed the highest increase among all subgroups of food, recording an 8.8 per cent increase in October.
“THE SUPPLIES AREN’T COMING IN”: RETAILER
A check on several grocery shops in the Klang Valley on Tuesday revealed that there was a shortage of standard eggs.
A retailer in Klang who only wanted to be known as Salman said that the suppliers only gave him three cartons of eggs every day.
“We limit the number of eggs we sell to our customers. Some customers want more and complain but we are unable to do so to be fair to others,” he told CNA.
Another grocery shop owner, Fauzi Abu Hassan in Shah Alam said that he was only selling the more expensive “Omega 3” eggs. These cost between RM0.65 and RM0.80 per egg depending on their size. Such fortified eggs are not subject to the retail price ceiling.
“We are not getting any stock. The supplies aren’t coming in,” he told CNA.
An egg supplier in Setia Alam who wanted to be known only as Vivian said that they limited each customer to three trays of eggs each. A tray of Grade A eggs is sold for RM13.50.
“We cannot give out more because we need to control it for now. We have our own farm, so we get our own stock. Many customers have booked the eggs three or four days in advance.
“We have a limit except for the Kampung (organically produced) eggs. People can take as many kampung eggs as they want,” she said, adding that they were sold for RM18.50 per tray.
Kampung eggs are also not subject to the retail price ceiling.