KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 — The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries (MAFI) will intensify efforts to increase the export potential of cave swiftlet birds’ nests to China in the near future, said its minister, Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee.
He said that it was to ensure that the country’s premium bird’s nest products can be marketed directly to China, with a real value that could reach up to RM20,000 per kilogramme (kg) if they met the quality level that was safe to eat and had traceability.
“The production of birds’ nests from caves is 40 to 60 metric tonnes a year. The potential of cave swiftlet birds’ nests is high because the price of raw unclean edible bird’s nests (RUC EBN) is around RM8,000 per kg.
“China is the largest cave birds’ nests user country in the world, with a demand of 80 metric tonnes a year. Currently, export of cave RUC EBN is only to Hong Kong, Taiwan and Vietnam,” he said in a statement issued by MAFI today.
MAFI, in the same statement, also explained that China is the main importer as it imports 80 per cent of Malaysia’s total bird’s nest exports.
It also said that to fulfil the birds’ nests export protocol to China, the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) has accredited and given a Veterinary Health Mark (VHM) certification to 30 processing plants, and Good Veterinary Hygiene Practice (GVHP) certification to 44 processing plants.
Until last year, a total of 41 bird’s nest plants in Malaysia have been approved by the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC), namely 38 raw clean edible bird’s nests (RC EBN) and three RUC EBN plants.
“The very high demand and nutritional value of the bird’s nests result in high market value, with the total exports of this industry in 2020 being 5,654 metric tonnes, worth RM1.2 billion, and exports of this commodity remain strong while the country is still addressing the Covid-19 pandemic.
“As of 2021, there are 16,731 swiftlet houses and five swiftlet caves that have been registered. The caves are Gomantong Cave and Madai Cave in Sabah, Silabur Cave and Niah Cave in Sarawak and caves in Pulau Dangli, Langkawi, Kedah,” read the statement.
MAFI, through DVS, also took various measures to further increase the production of edible bird’s nest (EBN), involving activities in all value chains in the industry namely production, collection, processing and marketing.
Yesterday, Ronald launched Beho Birdnest Sdn Bhd’s cave bird’s nest products, and reviewed the operations at the company’s processing plant, which is one of the active EBN operators in Malaysia and registered with the GACC. — Bernama