Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Bird's Nest production affected by El Nino

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.


Sarawak bird nest output down on drought, fewer feeding grounds

Monday, 1 August 2016

Sarawak bird nest output down on drought, fewer feeding grounds


KUCHING: Bird nest production in Sarawak, one of the biggest producers in the country, had been affected by the drought earlier this year.

Breeders estimated production may have dropped between 10% and 20% in Sarikei and Sibu region. Sarawak produces about 8,000 kg of bird nests a month.

“The hot weather as well as fewer feeding grounds, especially in town areas, have adversely affected swiftlet’s nesting,” breeder Wong Hie Yong said.

He said the nesting periods for the birds were reduced to just twice a year, down from three times in a year previously in town area probably due to overcrowded and less insects.  Damaged natural habitats was also cited as a major factor, contributing to the decline in production.

Sarawak also produces high-quality bird nests from the many caves Baram, Miri, and Serian . It was estimated that there were 4,000 to 5,000 swiftlet houses in Sarawak.

Tasked by the state government to spearhead the orderly development of the swiftlet industry, the State Economic Development Corp (SEDC) has set up its first swiftlet eco park in Daro, Mukah Division.

The park has 10 units of double-storey buildings initially.