LIMBANG: Rural areas could be a bird’s nests goldmine through the state government’s efforts to promote swiftlet rearing outside urban centres. Assistant Minister of Tourism and Heritage Datuk Talib Zulpilip said the industry has a bright future due to the lucrative returns and larger areas in villages to set up swiftlet nesting homes.
“The swiftlet industry has shifted out of town now and there is growing potential to expand this promising industry in villages and rural areas,” he said when officiating at the Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) course on swiftlet rearing yesterday.
Among those present were Deputy Limbang Resident (Social Development) Stephen Kalong and Limbang District Council chairman Sufian Mohat. Talib, who is also SEDC chairman, said Sarawak’s bird’s nests quality has long been renowned throughout the country and internationally, including in China, as experts recognize its special characteristics.
This presents many opportunities for those interested to diversify their economic activities, he said. The huge demand for bird’s nests and vast agricultural land in the state, particularly outside urban centres, is a golden opportunity for Bumiputeras, he added. Talib explained that although the start-up capital expenditure may vary between RM40,000 and RM50,000, the handsome returns made the investment worthwhile.
“A kilogramme, depending on the grade, can fetch between RM4,500 and RM6,500 locally, while the highest price is between RM12,000 and RM24,000,” he said. He said more studies need to be carried out to further develop the industry. Meanwhile, Bukit Kota assemblyman Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail, in his speech, called for greater local involvement in higher value economic programmes to enable locals to raise their household incomes.
This should be the trend of communities in Limbang district as the government through SEDC, he said, could assist through a host of economic development programmes. “When the people’s income and economic standards rise, it will have a knock-on effect on the country’s economic growth,” he pointed out.
He said this is the rationale behind the government’s optimism in encouraging the people to be positive-minded and determined to succeed in various fields. “The society generally is highly determined to take on various fields that promise good returns, including the lucrative swiftlets rearing industry,” he added.
Swiftlet rearing is taking off in stages in Lawas District. Two hundred participants from Limbang, Lawas and Ba Kelalan attended the one-day course.