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More frozen chicken from Indonesia expected in August, first shipment delivered to distributor

02:09 Min
More frozen chicken from Indonesia is set to arrive in Singapore next month, after the first batch containing 50 tonnes of frozen chicken was shipped here last week. Clara Lee reports.

SINGAPORE: More frozen chicken from Indonesia is set to arrive in Singapore next month, after the first batch containing 50 tonnes of frozen chicken was shipped here last week.

The first shipment of products - comprising two containers of chicken - was supplied by Charoen Pokphand Indonesia (CPI) under a new arrangement for Indonesian companies to export chicken to Singapore.

The containers left Jakarta on Jul 13 and arrived in Singapore on Jul 17.

The shipment was delivered to Leong Hup Distribution's fully automated warehouse at Fishery Port Road on Thursday (Jul 21), with the poultry scheduled to hit the market in one or two days, said Mr Alfred Leek, Leong Hup's procurement director.

He said that the company has ordered five more containers of chicken, with delivery expected in August and September. Each container weighs 25 tonnes.

As the frozen chicken from Indonesia is larger and heavier, at about 2.2kg, compared with frozen chicken from Brazil and Argentina, Mr Leek said he expects to sell them to chicken rice hawkers and other businesses, rather than to supermarkets.

CPI has a contract to supply 1,000 tonnes of chicken meat to Singapore until the end of the year. The contract is valued between 30 billion rupiah (US$2 million) and 40 billion rupiah, CPI’s president director Thomas Effendi told CNA last week.

The shipments from Indonesia come after the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) announced on Jun 30 that it had approved Indonesia as a new source for chicken imports. This provided an additional source market after Malaysia banned exports of chicken in May to ensure sufficient supply for its domestic market.

Before the export ban, Singapore received about 34 per cent of its chicken imports from Malaysia, almost all of which were brought in as live chickens that were then slaughtered and chilled locally.

More than 20 countries are accredited to export chicken to Singapore, including Brazil, Thailand and Australia.

According to SFA, Singapore imported 214,400 tonnes of chicken in 2021.

Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Koh Poh Koon (centre) inspecting frozen chicken imported from Indonesia at Leong Hup Distribution's warehouse on Jul 21, 2022. He is with Leong Hup procurement director Alfred Leek (left) and Indonesia's ambassador to Singapore Suryo Pratomo (right). (Photo: CNA/Chew Hui Min)

Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Koh Poh Koon, who was at Leong Hup's warehouse on Thursday, noted that hawkers and restaurants have adjusted their recipes to account for the texture of frozen chicken.

"I just want to thank all Singaporean consumers as well as the industry for the resilience and the flexibility they have shown throughout this period, by switching the way in which you purchase some chicken, the way you change our recipe. So that even through this supply disruption, we are able to keep our food security and resilience at the top of our minds," said Dr Koh.

When asked if imports from Indonesia will continue even after Malaysia's export ban is lifted, Dr Koh said that food source diversification is important for Singapore as the bulk of its food comes from overseas.

"Importantly, consumers must support this move. If consumers show adequate demand, then there will be a business case for our importers to look at diversified sources," he said.

"While this may be the first batch of frozen chicken that comes from Indonesia, if the consumer demand is positive, I think that businesses will want to look at how to broaden this pipeline and bring in more chicken from Indonesia."

Dr Koh added that SFA has also approved some business establishments in Indonesia to import heat-processed chicken and chicken products.

According to SFA's previous announcement, three companies from Indonesia have been given permission to export chicken meat and chicken meat products into Singapore. Two of them are subsidiaries of Charoen Pokphand, while the other is a subsidiary of frozen food giant Japfa Comfeed.

Indonesian ambassador to Singapore Suryo Pratomo, who was also at Leong Hup's warehouse on Thursday, said that producers in Indonesia will look at how much demand there is in Singapore to assess if there is scope for farms in Batam to supply live chicken exports to the country.

"If we can set up the farm in Batam, it is more efficient to ship to Singapore," he said.

Mr Leek said that the chickens from Indonesia arrived in Singapore within four days, compared with 40 to 60 days shipping time for poultry from the Americas.

He did not say how much the chickens will be sold for, but told reporters that prices should stabilise as more supply arrives.

The price of chilled chicken rose from about S$6.60 in March to S$7.22 in May, before the Malaysian chicken ban came into effect, according to data from the Singapore Department of Statistics.

Source: CNA/hm(aj)

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