PUTRAJAYA: Efforts to develop the swiftlet farming industry continue despite the arising issues which threaten the overseas market of Malaysian bird's nests, especially to China.
Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said among the issues or problems faced was restricted sales of the product which affected returns on investment in the industry and which also caused falling market price of the product.
"However, the Government is not doing nothing and but has directly taken the initiative to address the problems through high-level discussions and negotiations," he said at the opening of the Edible Bird's Nest Industry Conference 2014, here, Tuesday.
His speech text was read out by the ministry's Deputy Secretary-General Datuk Raihan Sharif.
The Minister said that through such efforts, Malaysian bird's nests could be exported again to China through eight local companies which had been certified by the authorities in China.
He said the second batch comprised 15 companies which had been audited by the Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People's Republic of China (CNCA) and were expected to receive the audit results soon, he said.
Ismail Sabri said the Veterinary Services Department (VSD) had also sent in applications to the CNCA for the third group involving nine more companies to export swiftlet bird's nests to China.
"The VSD is still receiving many applications from companies which are keen to export bird's nests to China.
The issue of bird's nest export from Malaysia to China arose in July 2011 after the media in China questioned the quality of the product.
Inspections carried out found that the red bird's nests contained nitrates that exceeded 1,000ppm, which could pose a risk to the consumers' health.
China, however, reportedly withdrew the import ban on Malaysian swiftlet bird's nests from last Dec 25.
Ismail Sabri said the VSD had organised courses related to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) for those involved in processing bird's nests so as to meet the CNCA's audit quality requirements.
The Minister said Malaysia had exported 120 tonnes of bird's nests worth RM114 million in the first 10 months of this year and the volume was expected to increase to 150 tonnes by the year-end.
He said the bird's nest industry was a high-impact entry point project (EPP) with a targeted export of 870 tonnes worth RM5.2 billion by 2020. – Bernama