KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia produces some 350 metric tonnes of edible bird’s nest annually and around 130 tonnes are expected to be exported by the end of this year, said Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) deputy director-general (Veterinary Health) Datuk Dr Quaza Nizamuddin Hassan Nizam.
“The edible bird’s nest industry is growing and last year itself, the country has exported 105 tonnes of edible bird’s nest to various countries.
“We’re exporting some 12 metric tonnes in the form of raw, clean to China. We have a programme in progress where we’re trying to export raw, unclean to China.
“Only about 25% of edible bird’s nest production is going for further process value adding whereas about 50% goes under raw, unclean and 25% raw, clean. We’re trying to increase the 25% to 50% to make it value adding for more income and to penetrate more markets,” he told a press conference after the Swiftlet Eco Park Group 12th anniversary dinner.
Dr Quaza added that the Middle East, US and Europe differed from the Chinese market so industry players have to look at different ways of selling their products rather than just looking at raw, clean and raw unclean edible bird’s nests. The value of edible bird’s nest now is around RM7,000 per kg.
Dr Quaza stressed that all swiftlet farming premises were registered in the DVS system and a full traceability system is in place to ensure the bird’s nests from Malaysia are of good quality and can be traced to the bird house it came from.
“For example, when we export the bird’s nest to other countries, it has a special sticker with a pin number and a code which can be scanned and traced to its source.
“We want to ensure the importance of food safety from the farm to the table,” Dr Quaza said. Deputy Agricultural and Agro-Based Industries Minister Anthony Nogeh Gumbek, who was also present, said the bird’s nest industry is recognised as one of the high value industries and the Government has placed it under one of the entry point projects of the Economic Transformation Programme.
“We want to produce bird’s nests which are acceptable by any standard in any country and we want to value add it.
“We don’t just sell raw clean or raw unclean bird nest, you process it to downstream products where you can get more return from it,” he said, adding that Government has spent almost RM8mil for research funding to assist the industry to expand the product range.