Sunday, March 31, 2013

A meeting to prepare for China auditing tomorrow

As reported in the paper below a meeting will be organised tomorrow to formalise the preparation for China CNCA auditing.

PUTRAJAYA: About 500 swiftlet farmers submitted a memorandum to the Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Ministry today asking to be included in future negotiations with regard to the bird’s nest industry.

Malaysia Birds Nest Alliance president, Lim Lai Soon, said nearly all of the country’s raw and unprocessed bird’s nest producers and farmers are currently in limbo.

About 250 tonnes of Malaysian bird’s nests were exported to China before the country imposed a ban in July 2011 after finding high levels of nitrites in the products.

“We want to draw attention of the authorities on a possible wipeout faced by growers if the situation is not properly handled and managed. It could spell an end to the industry.

“We urge the government to include us in all future negotiations concerning the bird’s nest industry,” said Lim.

He claimed that although the Nanning Protocol was signed in September 2012, which allowed for the re-entry of edible birds’ nest into China, till today none of the cleaned bird’s nest from Malaysia have been cleared for export to China.

“The protocol ignored the larger community of growers who merely produce original raw bird’s nest which are not included in the agreement. This community of growers take up 95% of the total production of birds’ nest in the country,” he said.

He added that as a result, the raw bird’s nest could not find an avenue for consumption, which has since resulted in a serious glut.

Negotiations still ongoing

Lim also claimed that the present scenario is due to the “scheming” acts of individuals who recommended to both the authorities in China and Malaysia, to impose strict guidelines for export of bird’s nest, which were made central to the protocol negotiations.

“We wish to reiterate to the government of the day to listen to the voices of swiftlet farmers to expedite the raw bird’s nest export to China,” Lim said.

Later at a press conference, chief secretary of the Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Ministry, Mohd Hashim Abdullah, said a series of discussions between the ministry and authorities in China are on ongoing to resolve the issue.

He added that the Cabinet has come out a directive to the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to China, Ong Ka Ting, to assist in solving the issue.

“We hope that with his experience and connections, the process can be hastened. He will try to ensure the Chinese come here as soon as possible.

Hashim said that the Chinese will come over to audit the processing plants besides observing the plantation’s system.

“We are at the final hurdle right now; currently we are just waiting for China to come here and audit our system and I hope bird’s nest can be cleared for export as soon as possible.

Veterinary Services Department director-general, Abdul Aziz Jamaluddin, also said that a meeting will be held to discuss the issue further on March 14 with Ong in attendance.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Bird's nest industry in dire straits - Association

I would like to clarify here that Sarawak never prohibit export of bird's nest to China. China may come to audit the processing plant here to check on the standard as stated. Export to other country is still on. Below are the news reported at The Borneo Post today.

KUCHING: The bird’s nest industry in Sarawak will be paralysed if the export constraints imposed by China and Malaysia’s minimum wage policy issues were not resolved quickly.

Sarawak Bird’s Nest Merchants Association president Loh Siaw Kuei said industry players in the state were still prohibited from exporting their products to China even though an agreement was reached in Nanjing last September.

“The Malaysia-China Bird’s Nest Export Agreement has been signed but we are still not permitted to export,” he said at the association’s annual general meeting here yesterday.

“At present, travellers in West Malaysia are allowed to carry one kilogramme of bird’s nest products in the form of gift out of the country. We hope this privilege can be extended to Sarawak to help reduce our burden.”

Loh conceded that the bird’s nest processing industry in Malaysia had not met the export standards stipulated by China.

He said the Chinese standards included proper registration of swiftlet farms; comprehensive documentation on quality and safety systems; standard operating procedure of bird’s nest processing; data on standard water quality; and the capability
of eliminating dirt and impurities.
“All these are among the cause of concern for bird’s nest merchants and swiftlet farm operators in Sarawak.”

He asserted that the mininum wage policy had started to take its toll since employers were expected to pay RM800 and above for each worker.

“We need as much labour as possible to run the bird’s nest business. “When the cost of labour goes up, we are left with little choice but to raise the selling price.
“This may deter local consumers from buying bird’s nest products. Even if the government extends another year to fully implement the policy, it does not help that the application procedure is perplexing.”
He regretted that a couple of swiftlet farms had been forced to either close down or transfer ownership at a loss.
Thus, Loh called on the authorities to look into the difficulties faced by all industry players in the state.

He said he looked forward to hearing good news from the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to China, Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting, who would soon lead a technical delegation to China to resolve bird’s nest export-related issues.

Read more:

Saturday, March 16, 2013

How to start swiftlet ranching with minimal capital

With a capital of less than RM25,000 you can actually own a swiftlet house. Your cost depending on your budget, locality, size, type of materials use and the swiftlet population. This is to ensure good return on investment and reduce the risk involved in this kind of uncertain business venture.

The failure rate is 70% according to industry experiences, so be prepare to convert this structure or premises into a store, farm house or even for mushroom cultivation if you had failed. Here are some tips;
1. Check the present of swiftlet by playing a good bird call testing equipment. Testing must be conducted between 5 to 7 pm two or three times at the location you intended to use.
2. If more than 6 birds responded you can consider building the small house
3. Building measurement 12 x 24 feet of double storey with 8 feet each storey
4. To cut cost, you may use cement board 4 x 8 and hollow brick for ground floor for good support. You may even construct the upper floor first and leave the ground floor hollow for other agriculture activities such for rearing livestock etc.
5. Use aluminium as roofing to reduce heat and temperature in the room.
6. Red meranti as the blatant to ensure Good quality nest
7. Installed 2 type of bird call
8. Maintain good micro climate at 28 to 30 degree C and humidity of 80 percent
9. Keep out of pest
10. Never disturb the bird once they start patronising the premises

Be patience it may take up to 2 year to achieve a population of around 100 birds depending on locality and swiftlet ( Aerodramus fuciphagus) population.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Malaysia submitting amended bird's nest certificates to China

BEIJING: Malaysia is in the process of submitting the amended copies of the Certificate of Origin and Health Certificate to the Chinese authorities to expedite the resumption of the bird's nest trade with China.

The certificates were also submitted together with signatory samples and seals of the authorised officers for verification purpose at the point of entry, the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing said in a statement on Thursday.

"The stringent requirements for the export of Malaysian bird's nest to China is not only to ensure only genuine bird's nest products which are safe for consumption are exported to China, but also at the same time to curb the illegal trading (smuggling) of bird's nest," it said.

Malaysia and China signed the protocol of entry of bird's nest products into China which entails examination, quarantine and hygiene on Sept 19, 2012.

Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Noh Omar signed the protocol on behalf of Malaysia while China was represented by its Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine Minister, Zhi Shuping.

With the signing of the protocol, Malaysian officials have been diligently monitoring the bird's nest industry for standards compliance.

Meanwhile, the embassy urged all parties in Malaysia, including entrepreneurs and exporters, not to be influenced by rumours from any individual or organisation that bird's nest products from other countries are being exported into China or that the resumption of the bird's nest trade with China can be procured through unofficial channels.

"In this connection, both the Malaysian and Chinese authorities are doing their best on the resumption of the bird's nest trade with China," it said.

The Department of Veterinary Services had forwarded to the Registration, Certification and Accreditation Administration of China (CNCA) 20 application forms for export and related documents received from the relevant establishments for the export of bird's nest products to China on Dec 13, 2012, it said.

Several matters were being clarified during the meeting between Malaysia and China on Dec 18, 2012 between Malaysia and China, the statement said.

"Malaysia is to provide further information as required by the Chinese authorities," it said.

Copies of the Veterinary Health Certificate, Certificate of Origin and Health Certificate (Ministry of Health) were resubmitted to The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) on Dec 20, 2012 upon request. - Bernama