Raya worries over egg, chicken, veg prices in M’sia

Several traders fear there could be a shortage when Ramadan begins in the middle of this week, followed by Hari Raya Aidilfitri a month later.


Good supply: Lau showing the eggs at his stall at the Ayer Itam wet market in Penang. — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

March 21, 2023

KUALA LUMPUR – Although the supply of eggs at markets and retail stores in Penang has stabilised, several traders fear there could be a shortage when Ramadan begins in the middle of this week, followed by Hari Raya Aidilfitri a month later.

Egg trader Mars Lau, 30, said he had been getting 60 trays of egg compared with 30 trays some three to four months ago.

The supply is a far cry from last year, when he used to get 100 trays daily before the number dwindled to 30 trays late last year. Each tray has 30 eggs.

“Although the egg supply has improved lately, I foresee it may not be sufficient for the festive season.

“For now, there is ample supply, but with demand expected to surge closer to Hari Raya, the existing supply may not be able to cope with the increasing demand,” said Lau, who has three stalls selling eggs at the Ayer Itam wet market.

At the Bandar Baru Ayer Itam wet market, egg trader Elaine Tan, 50, said she hoped there would be sufficient supply during the festive season.

She said although shortages were no longer as severe as before, her concern was that the price had seen a steady increase over the last few months.

“I am the only one selling eggs in this market now, as three others closed shop during the period when there was an egg shortage.

“I have maintained the same prices from the time when there was a shortage until now,” said Tan, who sells kampung eggs at 70 sen each, grade AAA at 66 sen, grade AA at 62 sen and D (the smallest) at 48 sen.

Meanwhile, prices for vegetables have soared and are expected to increase further with the approach of Ramadan.

The price of beans has increased to RM5 from RM4 per kg, while other greens that have seen an increase were okra (RM11 to RM15 per kg), cucumber (RM4 to RM6 per kg), cabbage (RM8 to RM11 per kg), and tomatoes (RM8 to RM11 per kg).

Vegetable seller Thiruselvi Kanesan, 47, said although no shortage had been reported, there was a steady price increase of at least 30% for certain vegetables over the past few months.

“There are fewer customers visiting my stall as they are looking into how best to save on their expenses,” added Thiruselvi.

Prices for chicken differ in certain markets, with one selling at RM9.40 per kg at Ayer Itam market, while two other traders in Bandar Baru Ayer Itam have been selling at RM10 and RM12 per kg.

Trader K. Ramesh, 56, who has been selling chickens for almost 20 years, said his RM12 per kg price was reasonable, as chickens nowadays are not transported directly from the farm.

“We are paying a higher cost as processed chickens are now transported to a centralised distribution centre on Penang island, before being distributed to traders.

“I get 400 chickens on weekdays and 500 during weekends. I would have sold the chicken for RM10 per kg if I could get it directly from the farm,” he said.

Under the regulations of the Penang Island City Council, only processed chickens can be brought to wet markets, and traders have to store them in large freezers.

Hajamubarakali Mohd Hanippa, 61, sells about 180 chickens a day at RM10 per kg.

“As you can see, prices vary because the processed chickens sold by the middleman is not fixed.

“It could be very much higher during the festive season,” he said.

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