PUTRAJAYA, Aug 29 — There is tremendous potential for unprocessed swiftlet nests from Malaysia to enter China’s market again by year-end, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said.
He said the ministry was in the process of securing an agreement with the Chinese authorities, while the China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park had indicated its commitment to accept the product from Malaysia.
Equipped with a RM30 million laboratory, he said the industrial park, which is situated in Guangxi could act as the entry point and inspection and quality control centre for swiftlet nests into China, he said.
“The process to obtain approval, including infrastructure construction, is going on simultaneously and it is highly unlikely that the Guangxi government would want to see the project fail, especially after having invested such a huge sum,” he told the media after holding discussions with China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park Deputy Executive Director Gao Pu on the bird nest export, here, today.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Shabery said the ministry planned to build a collection centre for unprocessed bird nests where the product would be given a three-minute heat treatment to rid them of bacteria.
The centre, which is expected to be ready by year-end, will also be equipped with a traceability system to provide the authorities with relevant information on the source of every product that is exported, he added.
“Traceability ensures the product source could be identified and in the event of any problem arising, we do not have to impose a blanket ban on bird nest export but only those from the identified area.
“The centre will also carry out quality control measures on unprocessed bird nests prior to their export to China and going forward, a few more of such collection centres will be built,” he said.
Ahmad Shabery said the market reacted positively over news of the likelihood of China resuming its import of unprocessed bird nests from Malaysia.
“Previously, bird nests fetched RM800 a kilogramme, but now they command a price of between RM3,000 and RM4,000 a kilogramme,” he said.
China bans imports of unprocessed bird nests from Malaysia for the past four years following allegations that the product contained substances that are detrimental to health. — Bernama