Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Bird’s nest industry booms again thanks to e-commerce

KUCHING: The bird’s nest industry which hit the doldrums after China banned its import in 2011 has picked up recently through e-commerce.

The demand for this traditional health supplement has risen so much that now one kilogramme of raw (unprocessed) bird’s bird fetches between RM1,500 and RM3000, while the price of processed nests can go up to RM6,000 per kg.

The rebound according to Sarawak Bird’s Nest Suppliers’ Association treasurer Andy Piang, has been due to vibrant trading through free communication applications such as “WeChat” and “WhatsApp” which connect local suppliers and overseas buyers.

“Now those involved in bird’s nest business – the suppliers and the buyers communicate with each other on the free communication applications. Bird’s nest business is booming again,” Piang told The Borneo Post yesterday.

He said the restriction imposed by China is still in effect but local bird’s nest farmers and suppliers have been trading using alternative route by exporting to Hong Kong, the global bird’s nest centre.

“As a whole, China still restrict bird’s nest from Malaysia. Only nine companies in Malaysia are allowed to export to China and three of these companies are from Sarawak,” said Piang.

Piang estimated that each year, Sarawak officially exports 60 tonnes of bird’s nest. With RM50 of permit fee being imposed on every kilogram, the trade can rake in RM3 million to the state coffers.

As bird’s nest industry is a million-dollar industry, Piang called on the state government to look into the needs of bird’s nest farmers and traders by regulating and promoting the trade.

In Sarawak, cave bird’s nest is considered a forest product and bird’s nest ranching has been under the Forestry Department.

According to Malaysian Agreement 1963, forestry, like land, is fully under the jurisdiction of the state government, independent from the federal government.

However, Sarawak farmers and traders are required to register under the jurisdiction of federal officials who do not make any distinction between bird’s nest industry in Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia when negotiating with China.

“We should not be taken as part of Malaysia where bird’s nest trade is concerned. Sarawak’s bird’s nest should be like our timber, where we decide where to export and not to be lumped together with that of Peninsular Malaysia.”

“Or at least, when there is negotiation ongoing, there must be Sarawakian representatives, rather than leaving all the negotiation to the federal officers who do not understand our situation here,” said Piang.

Piang’s call of state government’s assistance was shared by Sarawak Bird’s Nest Import and Export Association president Liu Thian Leong who believed that more involvement of the state in the bird’s nest industry would help develop the industry further.

“I think we should set up some kind of a board, like the Pepper Board to monitor bird’s nest industry, or at least like Peninsular Malaysia where the Agriculture Department and Health Department are actively regulating and promoting the trade,” said Liu.

Meanwhile, bird’s nest farmer Yeo Gek Heong said compared to the bird’s nest of Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak’s bird’s nest is of higher quality. This is because Sarawak has vast land area with small population and the natural equatorial environment of Sarawak has allowed top quality bird’s nest to be produced.

“Our bird’s nest is of premium quality. We should market our bird’s nest as our own brand, rather than through Peninsular Malaysia where their bird’s nest is of inferior quality.”

“A department or an agency of sort or existing agency should be identified to help the industry so that we can export our bird’s nest as a premium merchandise. The existence of such a department or agency may also help to reduce the possibility of monopoly by a few big players,” said Yeo.

Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2016/06/01/birds-nest-industry-booms-again-thanks-to-e-commerce/#ixzz4AHPsxxpd

Sarawak AA grade: good quality nest which contains less nitrate and less feathers fetch very high price in the market. The Good Animal Husbandry Practice ( GAHP) adopted by MyGAP certified swiftlet farms guaranteed of this quality.