LUNDU: Sarawak has the potential to contribute up to RM2 billion to the country’s total yearly production of bird’s nest by 2020.
“It is our (government) hope that by 2020, the country would be able to produce a yearly RM5 billion worth of bird’s nests weighing 500 tonnes involving 100,000 birdhouses. The source of this information came from Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Datuk Noh Omar,” said Talib who is also State Assistant Minister of Tourism and Heritage. He said Bumiputera involvement in this industry is still low at less than 10 per cent, according to statistics in 2009.
“With such a scenario, Bumiputera involvement in this industry is still very low and lagging far behind compared with that of the non-Bumiputera sector which controlled about 90 per cent of the total industry. We hope local Bumiputera involvement will be greater after we (SEDC) provide training and courses to encourage their participation,” he stressed. He said, with yesterday’s one-day course, folks in Sematan could see the potential of this industry and tap the golden opportunities afforded by it. He stressed that the industry is a real income generator.
A kilogramme of bird’s nests depending on its grade, could fetch RM4,500 to RM6,500 in the local market while the price could increase to between RM6,000 and RM12,000 (world market).
The highest the price per kilogramme has gone up is from RM12,000 to RM24,000, Talib said when pointing out that entrepreneurs have nothing to fear when it comes to business returns and turnover.
He said one can browse www.gemsb.voc.com to find out the details on farming and marketing of swiftlet bird’s nests. However, he said, this industry would require a big capital outlay if one wants to start big and get handsome returns. Talib stressed that he was confident the capital issue could be overcome by engaging the assistance of government agencies.
As far as Bumiputera entrepreneurs are concerned, Talib said he hoped they would expand their businesses in the global arena instead of just being contented with local businesses. Talib pointed out that rodents are potential pests of bird’s nests and that firecrackers are not only scary but could disturb the mating season of swiftlets.
Recently the Sarawak government had entrusted SEDC to set up a Swiftlet Birds Eco Park, according to a press statement delivered to the media during the closing ceremony. The Eco Park will be the first of its kind in Sarawak and it is to be located at come from overhauling the university’s teaching activities to make graduates more commercially viable.