‘Never seen prices like this’: Fish and chicken merchants worried about passing higher costs onto customers


HOW COMPANIES ARE RESPONDING

Ms Elly Sukma, owner of a poultry shop named after her at Geylang Serai Market and Food Centre, recalled when she first opened her stall in 2000.

“Back then you could buy three kilograms of chicken for S$10, now if a makcik (aunt) wants the cheapest it’s one kilogram for S$5,” she said, referring with frozen chicken.

Malaysia’s decision to curb exports has led to a S$0.50 increase in the cost of each kilogram of chicken, the highest it has seen since starting its business.

She and other poultry sellers said that festive seasons such as Chinese New Year and Hari Raya usually lead to higher chicken costs for all poultry sellers.

For Ms. Sukma, her supplier charged her an extra $0.20 per kg per week during the Ramadan period.

While it sold fresh chicken meat at S$6 per kilogram and S$6.50 during the holidays in 2021, it has been charging S$7 per kilogram since the start of Ramadan this year.

Her customers wonder why prices haven’t come down yet, as they have in previous years, but Ms Sukma is grateful they’ve been understanding.

Even so, her income has dropped by about 60%, she said, because she can’t get enough fresh chicken from her suppliers to sell and she doesn’t have the heart to increase prices for its customers.

“The makciks tell me the prices are too high, it’s hard to feed their families… I can’t just raise them because it’s more expensive,” she said.

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