Singapore

AVA ready with alternative egg sources

Singapore's food watchdog has responded to warnings from Malaysia that it may stop or limit egg exports, saying the Republic has plans in place to acquire eggs from elsewhere if need be.

Earlier this week, Malaysia's Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the country is looking into limiting or stopping the export of eggs, to ensure a sufficient supply for the domestic market.

However, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said supplies remain unaffected for now, with a spokesman adding: "Our importers are still getting their usual egg supplies from Malaysia.

"Nevertheless, in line with our overall food diversification strategy, we have a wide range of alternative sources for our eggs, including our local farms."

About 73 per cent of Singapore's eggs are from Malaysia, according to the AVA, with around a quarter produced here.

Less than 1 per cent of eggs in Singapore are from farms in Thailand, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Singapore's egg supply was disrupted in 2004 when the emergence of avian flu (H5N1) on a poultry farm in Kelantan resulted in the AVA imposing a ban on all poultry products from Malaysia.

EXPENSIVE

Although there were alternative sources for import, these were more expensive and caused the price of eggs to rise sharply, spiking to 70 cents an egg at one point - almost three times the usual price at the time.

Supermarket staff have said egg supplies remain unchanged for now.

Seng Choon Farm manager Koh Chern Peng said the farm produces about 600,000 eggs a day - about 12 per cent of Singapore's daily demand.

But he added that its supplies are "inelastic".

"Chickens on the farm need to grow to maturity... it would take at least half a year to increase the number of eggs produced on the farm," he said.

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