Thursday, June 23, 2011

Authority’s spot check on swiftlet farms gives out wrong signals

Posted on June 23, 2011, Thursday by The Borneo Post
A LUCRACTIVE MARKET: Malaysia is, at present, the second largest producer of bird’s nests in the world after Indonesia.

SIBU: The recent spot check on swiftlet farmhouses by enforcement officers from Sarawak Forestry Department is giving swiftlet farmers the jitters. Some are said to be worried sick, having no idea what would come next from the authority.
Secretary of Sarawak Bird’s Nest Suppliers Association, Colin Wong, when contacted, said the spot check was nothing more than a routine exercise to determine the actual number and the locations of the swiftlet farmhouses that had mushroomed of late.

“There is nothing to worry if the operators fulfill all the criteria; follow the proper guidelines and procedures in operating the farmhouses,” he said. Wong said he had talked to the enforcement officers and were told their operation was not to interfer. “They were only collecting data; logistics and information on the locations of the farmhouses that were under their jurisdiction,” he said.

Wong said the association was ready to discuss with the department over its operation if it were necessary.
Swiftlet farmhouses are mushrooming, mostly in Salim Road, Rantau Panjang, the West Bank, Lanang Road and even at some residential areas. There are least 10 new farmhouses along Salim Road, some still under construction.

Bird’s nest is said to be fetching good prices now with the unprocessed ones costing between RM4,500 and RM5,00 a kilogramme while the processed ones are sold between RM11,000 and RM19,000 a kilogramme.
In the central region alone, the number of farmhouses is estimated to be 1,500. Malaysia is currently said to be the second largest producer of bird’s nests in the world after Indonesia.

Indonesia produces 78 per cent of the world’s demand with Malaysia trailing behind at 10 per cent and Thailand the rest. Some 375 tonnes of unprocessed bird’s nests were produced last year. The nests, made from the saliva of the birds, are claimed to be excellent for the complexion and in promoting respiratory and gastric health.

The swiftlets use their spit to string together small gauze-like nests that are the main ingredient of bird’s nest soup, a Chinese delicacy.

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