Tuesday, December 27, 2016
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Bird’s nest export prices are expected to quintuple after Malaysia inked a deal with China to ship raw edible nests to the People’s Republic.
Malaysia’s deal with China, said Malaysia’s Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, could bring about RM1.5 billion (US$340,456,560) in profits to the local bird’s nest industry, but this could also mean the price for the product for local consumption may increase.
The deal, called Protocol of Inspection, Quarantine and Veterinary Hygiene Requirements for the Exportation of Raw, Uncleaned, Edible Bird’s Nest, is everything the name suggests.
The protocol sets standards for Malaysia’s 10,000 bird’s nest farmers to sell their raw product to the ministry, which will then export it untouched to China, where it will be processed and cleaned in Qinzhou and then sold to the Chinese market.
Malaysia has a RM22 million (US$4,993,363) joint quarantine, processing and testing plant with China in the Qinzhou Industrial Park.
China banned imports of bird’s nests from Malaysia in 2011 after finding nitrate in some of the nests.
“Everything will go through us and we will make sure this will be certified under standards we agreed on with China,” Ahmad Shabery said in the Parliament lobby yesterday.
He said when China imposed the ban, the price of Malaysia’s bird’s nest dropped from RM8,000 (US$1,815.80) per nest to less than RM1,000 (US$227.20) and this put constraints on local farmers.
“This deal gives a good message with the possibility of boosting our price to RM3,000 (US$680.80) or maybe even RM5,000 (US$1,134.60),” he said.
There are about 20,000 registered bird’s nest farms in the country and each requires an investment of up to RM300,000 (US$68,091.30) from the farmers.
A hike in the price for their product would ensure the survivability of the industry, Ahmad Shabery said.
During a question-and-answer session in Parliament with Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah (Umno-Lenggong), Ahmad Shabery also discouraged farmers from trying to process bird’s nest themselves, as the results could be disastrous in terms of quality control.
“Now we have a platform to do everything legally that fulfils quality standards, so what happened three-years ago won’t happen again,” he said.
Malaysia produces about 300 metric tonnes of bird’s nest annually.
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He said Malaysia hoped the number would continue to increase yearly, along the growth of local processing plants to producing export-quality edible bird’s nest.
“Edible bird’s nest is the most higly priced agricultural product in South-East Asia. It is estimated that there are more than 20,000 swiftlet ranching premises in operations throughout the country.
“The Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) has registered more than 10,000 swiftlet premises, and it expects to be able to register at least 90 per cent of the swiftlet premises by 2020,” Ahmad Shabery said in his opening speech at the 3rd Edible Bird’s Nest Industry Conference 2016 in Putrajaya on Tuesday.
He also also announced that DVS is introducing a programme, Edible Bird’s Nest as an Alternative to Shark’s Fin.
The programme had received good response from a number of four- and five-star hotels which are willing to work together with the ministry to raise the awareness, he said.
The two-day conference beginning Tuesday was attended by 120 industry players mostly from Malaysia and China.
Themed “Empowering the Essence of Edible Bird’s Nest”, the conference serves as a platform to discuss the current developments of Malaysia’s bird’s nest industry; global issues and challenges; share experiences, as well as, research products; improve creativity and innovation of downstream products and promotion and marketing opportunities. - Bernama
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Tuesday, August 2, 2016
KUCHING: While the Chinese community ponders over who to vote for in the last state elections, some are distracted by a “baffling exodus” taking place in Miri and Bintulu.
The producers of one of Sarawak’s most prized exports – bird’s nest – are blaming it on El Nino and the haze.
For the past few months, they said, the number of swift birds, whose saliva-spun nests are a great delicacy among the Chinese, have dropped noticeably in their usual nesting grounds.
“Many birds have flown away and not returned for a few months now. Maybe it is hard for them to find food. Production of bird’s nests has dropped by about 20% because of El Nino,” said Loh Siaw Kuei, president of the Sarawak Bird’s Nest Merchants Association.
Demand is back on the rise since 2014 after China lifted a 2011 ban due to nitrate levels in the delicacy.
The price for processed bird’s nest plunged from RM7,000 to RM3, 500 a kilogramme during the freeze, but has now exceeded RM8,000 and demand is growing, said Loh, also vice-president of the Federation of Malaysia Bird’s Nest Industry Merchants Associations Malaysia.
Loh said the strong recovery in prices and demand was a windfall for local industry players because they had difficulty in servicing bank loans during the ban. The loan they utilized to contruct bird house.
“Although the price is higher, the demand from China is still very good. Sarawak bird’s nests are bigger and considered to be of high quality and some had achieved HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point)-certified. That’s why the Chinese love bird’s nests from here,” he said.
Importers from China are also sourcing from Malaysia because of a drop in production in Indonesia, the world’s largest supplier, due to the haze.
According to Loh, Malaysia exported 11 tonnes to China last year.
There are 19 processing plants in the country approved to export cleaned bird’s nests to China with two in Kuching and one in Mukah, in the central region.