Malaysia has announced that it would reduce chicken exports beginning in June due to shortages in the nation.
In other parts of Asia, India has restricted wheat exports, while Indonesia has banned palm oil exports.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the globe is experiencing its greatest food crisis in decades.
Concerns have been raised by one agriculture expert regarding the emergence of so-called “food nationalism” among governments in the region.
Chicken prices have risen in Malaysia in recent months, and some merchants have set limitations on how much meat consumers may buy.
Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced on Monday that the nation will halt exporting up to 3.6 million chickens each month “until domestic pricing and production stabilize.”
“Our own people are the government’s priority,” he added in a statement.
Singapore, where Malaysian imports account for almost a third of its chicken supplies, appears to be particularly vulnerable to the change.
Almost majority of the birds arrive in Singapore alive before being butchered and chilled.
Later on Monday, the Singapore Food Agency advised buyers to buy frozen chicken rather than buying on impulse.
“While there may be temporary difficulties in chilled chicken supply, frozen chicken choices remain available to minimize the gap,” the agency added. “We also recommend that people buy only what they require.”
The newest step in the global food crisis is Malaysia’s restriction on chicken exports.
The World Bank warned last month that historic food price increases might force hundreds of millions of people into poverty and malnutrition.
Ukraine is a significant wheat exporter, but production has decreased since Russia invaded the nation.
Global wheat prices have risen as a result of this. It has also increased the likelihood of shortages in nations that rely on its products.
Yuliia Svyrydenko, Ukraine’s first deputy prime minister, told the BBC on Monday that the international community should arrange a “safe path” for millions of tons of grain stranded in the country to escape.
On the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos, David Beasley, executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme, dubbed Russia’s blockade on Ukraine’s food exports “a declaration of war on world food security,” according to BBC economics editor Faisal Islam.
He stated, “We are already in the midst of the largest food catastrophe since World War II.”
“When you take 400 million people who are nourished by food that comes out of Ukraine and turn it off, and you add fertiliser difficulties, droughts, food costs, and petrol costs on top of that, we’re looking at a hellstorm on Earth,” Mr Beasley said.
Wheat prices began to rise again early this month when India restricted wheat exports. The Indian government made the move after a hot wave in the country pushed domestic prices to new highs.
With droughts and floods hurting harvests in other big producers, commodity traders had expected India to make up for some of the Ukraine shortage.
Palm oil prices have also risen in recent weeks as Indonesia, the world’s largest producer of the commodity, which is used in everything from processed foods to soap, halted shipments for three weeks to lower domestic cooking oil costs. On Monday, the prohibition was removed.
According to Sonia Akter, an assistant professor at Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, these are examples of “food nationalism.”
“Governments establish such limits because they believe they must first and foremost safeguard their citizens,” she explained.
“Based on the historical experience of the 2007-2008 food crisis, it is likely that additional nations will follow suit, exacerbating the situation and driving up food prices,” she added.
Professor William Chen of Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, on the other hand, feels the export limitations are only transitory and not true food nationalism.
Mr Chen, who is the director of the university’s food science and technology program, said that other governments have put prohibitions on food goods but eventually lifted them.
“This is an excellent depiction of the food value chain’s interconnectedness, [where] no country can truly rely on itself for all foods required by its population.”