Wednesday, December 5, 2012

4000 Swiftlet ranching in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: Swiftlet farmers in Sabah have been given 24 months from January 1, 2013 to stop their activities within the city, municipal and township areas.

Any queries on the matter can be directed to the State Government, said Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry permanent secretary Datuk Michael Emban.

Speaking at a press conference after meeting with industry players at Wisma Tun Fuad, Emban said the directive is part of a set of 15 guidelines which would be enforced from January 1 next year to regulate swiftlet farming or rather ‘the fostering and propagation of swiftlets’ in Sabah.

The guidelines include among other things the needs and requirements before one could undertake swiftlet farming, and dissuade any swiftlet farmers from conducting their activities within cities, municipalities and towns in Sabah.

Swiftlet operators are also disallowed from starting their activities near all housing areas, public places, schools, clinics, houses of worships and water catchment areas.

The construction of swiftlet houses must be based on the relevant district plans or local plans, and must be sited in a 100-kilometer radius away from any airports and five kilometers radius away from runways.

Farmers intending to set up their swiftlet farming must enclose a map of the area where they are going to run their activities, which are allowed on titled land which states ‘agriculture’ as its land usage.

Swiftlet operators/farmers must control problems that may have ill effects on public health such as foul odours, breeding of mosquitoes and flies and environmental sanitation of their bird houses.

The use of loud speakers must not be more than 55dB, be pointed at an angle of 60 degrees towards the sky and can only be played between 6am and 7pm.

All swiftlet farmers are to abide by the good animal husbandry practice, the regulations set by any of the government agencies, conduct scheduled health and medical checks and abide by other directives from other government agencies from time to time.

Meanwhile, Tawau Swiftlets Association protem chairman Datuk Kour Nam Ngum, who was present at the press conference, said there are 4,000 swiftlet farmers in Sabah and 80 per cent of them would be adversely affected by the directive to close their operations 24 months from Jan 1, 2013.

Hence, he said, most members disagreed with the ruling.
He urged the authorities to defer the enforcement of the guidelines, saying they would be seeking the audience of Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman on the issue.

“It is not fair to us,” he said, adding that investment in the industry in Sabah was around RM500 million.
Also present at the press conference was Sabah Wildlife Department director Dr Laurentius Ambu.

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