May 10,2011, MALAYSIA - The Malaysian government is planning to get local companies to set up corn plantations abroad in an effort to tackle food-related issues.
Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Chua Tee Yong said the Government was also looking at enhancing other initiatives to further boost food production.
Corn is one of the main ingredients in animal feed.
“Under the Economic Transformation Programme, the Government is also attracting investors to set up food production companies here,” he said.
Explaining the high cost of chicken in the market, Chua said this was mostly due to the higher cost of corn in animal feed as the commodity was being used for biofuel in the United States.
He said Malaysia mainly imported corn for animal feed from the United States and the price of the commodity would remain an issue if the US government continued to subsidise biofuel.
This, topped with weather issues which plagued another exporting country, China, had caused the price of corn to shoot up recently.
“The high chicken price today is not because there is a supply shortage but is due to the escalating price of corn in poultry feed,” he said.
Chua said according to a report published in March, the United States spent $6 billion (RM18bil) a year on federal support for ethanol production through tax credit tariff and other programmes, adding that biofuel consumed 6.5 per cent of global green output and 8 per cent of world vegetable oil in 2010 compared with 2 per cent in 2004.
He said while setting up a stockpile for chicken would provide a short-term solution to the issue, it also posed several problems, including the management of such facility and the limited shelf-life of the produce.
The price of chicken has gone up to as high as RM8.50 per kilo at some wet markets.
The price for dressed chicken in March this year was around RM7 per kilo. It is said that production costs for chicken had jumped from RM3.80 per kilo last year to RM4.60 this year.
-- TheCropSite News Desk