Saturday, June 10, 2017

Happy days are back again for bird’s nest traders

KUCHING: With higher demand and lower supply, the bird’s nest industry is now experiencing a boom with a kilogramme of untreated bird’s nest now fetching RM3,000 to RM3,200, and treated ones, RM4,000 to RM6,000.

Sarawak Bird’s Nest Import and Export Association president Liu Thian Leong said prices of bird’s nest have been surging for more than half a year.

“Demand is high now. There are many freelance traders in the market. And these traders have been going around looking for either raw or unprocessed bird’s nest as well as processed ones,” Liu told The Borneo Post yesterday.

He said the ban from China is still on but the regulation seemed to be more relaxed.

“China still insists on certain criteria but in general, these regulations are no longer that stringent.”

“There are now Chinese traders who will make the trip here personally to buy the bird’s nest. Then there are local traders who are exporting direct to China, while others may export to China through Hong Kong, the global bird’s nest centre.”

“Through some ways or some means, our local bird’s nest still manage to get into China. Business is really good now and it is getting better,” Liu said.

Liu noted the low supply of bird’s nest is due to diminishing supply from swiftlet farms in urban areas.

“The production of swiftlet farms in town areas are showing a general decline. This means bird’s nest production in urban centres such as in shophouses are producing less but those in rural areas are showing positive growth. There are many new players coming into the markets while there are some who are phasing out. But in general, this is really a good time for swiftlet farmers,” said Liu.

He said the bird’s flu outbreak in Kelantan during January and February did not affect the bird’s nest industry in Sarawak adversely.

“Traders and farmers in Peninsular Malaysia were affected for a while as bird’s nest import from Peninsular Malaysia to China was banned. However, the whole short bird’s flu incident did not affect Sarawak or damage the market,” said Liu.

It has been estimated that each year, Sarawak bird’s nest traders, through e-commerce or export to China or Hong Kong, export about 60 tonnes of bird’s nest.

In Sarawak, bird’s nest is considered a forest product and the bird’s nest industry has been under the Forest Department. According to Malaysian Agreement 1963, forestry, like land, is fully under the jurisdiction of the state government, independent from the federal government.

Presently, bird’s nest traders or farmers who export through proper channel pay RM50 in tax for every kilogramme. Based on RM50 per kilogramme, it means bird’s nest trading can contribute RM3 million in tax for the state coffers. 

Borneo Post

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