Watch Closely and Act Immediately

The recent flurry of developments abroad has raised the level of concern for many countries especially those who are import-dependent for their food supply and other amenities.

Take the case of the announcement made by Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob that his country would ban live chicken exports to Singapore starting this month of June in order to address a domestic shortage that has sent prices of the fowl skyrocketing.

The country directly affected by this import ban would have to be its neighbor Singapore, the small island nation-State which relies on Malaysia for one-third of its total poultry supply which for the most part ends up in their famous national dish “chicken rice”.

The Malaysian Prime Minister went on to say that the ban had to be made because of local supply shortages due mainly to the limited raw materials such as corn and soybeans which are key ingredients in chicken feed and that the war in Ukraine has been one of the main causes of the shortage.

It has also been observed that since the last quarter of last year there has already been a clamor for the Malaysian government to correct its apparent failure to mitigate the shortage in domestic chicken supplies.

At the moment the city state of Singapore has yet to feel the economic impact of the chicken ban imposed by Malaysia but
in a report issued two days ago chicken traders in Singapore expect prices to rise sharply as their stocks dwindle and that
the original price of three Singaporean dollars for one whole chicken could later on cost about four to five Singaporean dollars per bird.

It was also reported that Singapore imports about 3.6 million chickens from Malaysia every month.

Another looming concern regarding food security has to do with discussions being made by two of the world’s top producers of rice, Thailand and Vietnam, in their plan to raise prices of the basic commodity which they export to other countries, notably the Philippines.

In a report by Reuters Thai government spokesperson Thanakorn Wangbookongchana said that they plan to raise rice prices, increase the income of farmers and increase their bargaining power in the global market, pointing out that, “The rice price has been low for more than 20 years while the cost of production has been increasing.”

If the plan of Thailand and Vietnam will push through this will greatly affect nations who rely on the importation of rice, and who are already affected by soaring wheat prices.

We certainly hope that Thailand and Vietnam will not agree to raise the price of their rice in the near future since this will affect our own food security in the Philippines considering that our present government continues to rely on imports for its food supply.

But our government especially the incoming new administration of President elect Bong-Bong Marcos should watch closely all upcoming developments that has to do with the global food supply and security and come up with viable alternatives to guarantee the food security of the people.

One immediate measure that can be seriously considered is for the government to gradually but firmly distance
itself from food import liberalization policies which would only make the country dependent on external forces for its food security.

The country has enough land, water, sunshine and other resources in the agriculture industry to become self-reliant in its food supply.

There is certainly nothing wrong with planting our own food. We have to do this because other countries are already experiencing their own food crisis and will surely look towards protecting their people and interests first before
considering the plight of other countries.

Given the war right now going on between Russia and Ukraine which will definitely affect other nations around the
globe, directly or indirectly, the continuing COVID-19 pandemic which has already affected the economies of most nations, and the effects of climate change, there is an urgent for the Philippine government to watch closely the unfolding events worldwide and to act immediately to protect its people by insuring food security in these times of crisis.


Amianan Balita Ngayon