SINGAPORE – Food supply to Singapore and prices of fresh groceries have not been affected by Malaysia’s lockdown that started on Wednesday (March 18), a key move by the country to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Fresh food associations and supermarkets contacted said supplies are not interrupted and prices of vegetables, fruit and fish remain stable.
Mr Tay Khiam Back, chairman of the Singapore Fruits and Vegetables Importers and Exporters Association, said he does not expect the lockdown to disrupt supply chains from Malaysia.
“There have been no issues to worry about,” he told The Straits Times on Wednesday.
Malaysia had issued a movement control order on Monday (March 16) that bars its citizens from travelling abroad until March 31. It affects more than 400,000 people who cross the land checkpoints in Woodlands and Tuas each day.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong assured Singaporeans that his Malaysian counterpart, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, had reassured him in a phone call that the flow of goods and cargo between Singapore and Malaysia would continue.
Mr Lee Boon Cheow, former president of the Singapore Fish Merchants’ General Association, said as much on Wednesday: “We are still getting fish from Malaysia at usual prices.
“Singapore also gets its seafood from various other countries such as China and Thailand, so I’m not too concerned about the lockdown.”
Prices at supermarket chains have not gone up as well.
A spokesman for Dairy Farm said of its Cold Storage and Giant stores: “We want to reassure our customers that our regular in-store prices have not increased as we continue to work closely with our partners to ensure a stable supply for our customers.”
The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) affirms that the country’s food supply is not affected by Malaysia’s movement control order.
It also said that based on feedback from importers, there are currently no disruptions to the country’s fish supply from Malaysia, adding that Malaysia accounts for 15 per cent of Singapore’s fish supply.
Its spokesman said: “Over the years, SFA has been diversifying our sources of food items, including eggs, chicken and vegetables. As a result, Singapore currently imports food from more than 170 countries and regions.”
Should one source dry up, the agency will work with importers to tap alternative sources and ensure food supply remains stable.
SFA has also been investing in local production to serve as a buffer when imports are disrupted.