Despite the recent food export bans by some countries, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong assured Singaporeans that the Government has been diversifying food imports from other places, expanding food stockpiles and will continue to do more as supply disruptions continue.
“These are things which we have to do, and which we have been doing for some time. Which is the reason why, when the supplies of chicken from Malaysia got cut off a few weeks ago, we were able to cope,” he said on June 25, 2022 to reporters after the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali.
On June 1, Malaysia started its chicken export ban to stabilise prices within the country.
After just three days then Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment (and now part of the NTUC’s leadership) Desmond Tan posted a video announcing the impending arrival of more chicken from Australia, Thailand, Brazil and United States.
All these point to the good work of the authorities, securing and diversifying our food import from more sources.
How the authorities are dealing with further supply disruptions
Recently, India banned wheat and sugar exports while Indonesia banned the export of palm oil, although that has since been lifted.
While PM Lee described the situation is “not so surprising” as supplies drop and prices rise due to the war in Ukraine, which disrupted grain exports, leading to an increase in poultry prices.
And with Singapore’s position as a food importer, it is a problem for Singapore but a problem which the Government has anticipated when the pandemic started.
“Countries are under pressure and they will do things. It’s not according to the rules of the WTO (World Trade Organization). You’re not supposed to close your markets when supplies get short. But under pressure, this is what governments do,” he said.
And with Singapore’s position as a food importer, it is a problem for Singapore; but a problem which the Government has anticipated when the pandemic started.
“I think the problem will continue. And we have to do somewhat more, and MTI (Ministry of Trade and Industry) is actively working on this right now.”
As the Ukraine War is not showing signs of abating and with the country facing a new Omicron wave, PM Lee urged Singaporeans to stay united.
“We just have to be prepared for that, to be united, to be upgrading ourselves, to be transforming our economy and girding ourselves to come out from this. And to continue to come out from this present situation ahead of the other countries, whatever the difficulties. I think that’s well within our capabilities.”