Saturday, March 12, 2011

Swiftlets Farming in Malaysia

The edible birds' nests industry in Malaysia has been in consistent operation for the last 100 odd years with the indigenous suppliers collecting nests from swiftlets natural habitat of caves especially in the East Malaysia region.

On the other hand, the swiftlets farming industry in Malaysia has only been rapidly expanding in the last eight years. Purposely built farms were constructed to house edible nests swiftlets as well as harness the nests. SMEs operators accounted for approximately 98% swiftlets farming operation in 2007. There are estimated 40,000 swiftlets farms in Malaysia such as Perak (Setiawan, Ipoh, Teluk Intan and Taiping), Pahang (Kuantan, Rompin and Pekan), Kelantan (Kota Bharu and Tumpat), Terengganu (Kuala Terengganu and Kuala Besut) and Kedah (Sungai Petani). Almost 99% of these farms produced the white edible birds' nest by the Aerodramus Fuciphagus species of swiftlets. Some developed states such as Selangor, Johor and Penang have areas to attract investments in swiftlets farming which is being emulated by Terengganu and Kelantan.

The swiftlets' nests industry was worth billions of ringgit. Indonesia with its more that 20 years experience in swiftlets farming on commercial scale supplied 70 - 80% of bird nest consumed worldwide mainly to Hong Kong (50% of world trade, China (8%) Taiwan (4%), Macau (4%), Singapore and North America. Estimated total consumption weight value of edible bird nests in 2008 was approximately 260 tonnes with estimated value of RM13 billion.

Malaysia is ranked the 3rd largest producer of edible bird's nests (7% of gross supply value) behind Indonesia (80%) and Thailand (10%). However, Vietnam and Cambodia is also striving to increase their nests production. In 2008, Malaysia is estimated to produces around 250,000 kilogramme of nests worth RM1 billion.

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