THERE is huge potential in the edible bird’s nest industry due to strong global demand for the delicacy.
Penang produced over four tonnes of bird’s nest last year, with almost half of them exported to neighbouring countries.
State Agriculture, Agro-based Industries, Rural Development and Health Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin said the country’s bird’s nest industry recorded an export value of RM1.32bil last year.
“Penang alone produced 4,733kg of bird’s nest last year, with 1,783kg of the raw and cleaned edible bird’s nest worth RM16.35mil exported to China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Laos, Korea and the United States.
“Of the export amount, 78% were sent to China,” he said at the launch of a bird’s nest guidebook at Komtar, Penang, on Wednesday.
In view of the growing market, the Rural Industry and Entrepreneurship Organisation has come up with an 85-page guidebook to be distributed free to bird’s nest industry operators, farmers and traders nationwide.
The organisation’s secretary-general John Ooh Sin Hwa said the publication was the result of a two-year study and analysis of 980 bird’s nest samples that cost the organisation RM75,000.
“Through the guidebook, we hope to impart to the operators relevant skills and knowledge in the processing, farming and trade of bird’s nest.
“It will also serve as a uniformed reference for the bird’s nest industry, at the same time help farmers grade their products,” he said before handing over a RM80,000 mock cheque to the Penang Veterinary Services Department.
Ooh said the amount was the estimated value in copyright costs for dissemination of 1,000 copies of the publication, and that the department would have full rights to distribute it to those in need of it.
The guidebook can be downloaded online for free by scanning the QR code on the brochure found at the state Veterinary Department office in Komtar and Bukit Tengah in Bukit Mertajam.
Also present was state Veterinary Services Department director Dr Anun Man.
Closely associated with Chinese culture, bird’s nest has grown in demand due to claims about its rejuvenating properties.
The nest is made entirely from strands of the swift and swiftlet birds’ saliva.
It is believed to provide nourishing ingredients for healthier bodies that translates to more radiant skin.