KOTA MARUDU – There would be 63,000 swiftlet premises in Malaysia by 2020, producing 870 metric tonnes of bird’s nest worth RM3.5 billion.
It seems collecting saliva from swiftlets is a money spinner!
In 2010 alone, the production of bird’s nest was around 290 metric tonnes valued at RM1.2 billion.
For Sabah, the first cluster bird-nest farming as a Mini Estate Sejahtera Project (MESEJ) project started in Pitas where two Kampung Kindut swiftlet ‘nests’ have begun to accomodate their feathered guests.
The MESEJ project started after the Kota Marudu Veterinary Service Department made a detailed observation of the swiftlet density in the area.
The study identified Pitas as the best place for swiftlet farming. Breeding Swiftlet commercially is a modern way of producing bird’s nest.
It involves attracting swiftlets to inhabit a man-built building, usually referred to as a swiftlet house or bird nest.
In Sabah, the edible bird nest in the past was mostly harvested from caves, including Gua Guomantong and Gua Madai.
In recent times, however, swiftlet farming began to be widely practiced and developed.
By all accounts the increasing output of bird nest worldwide has not been able to meet the seemingly insatiable appetite for it in China.
Jobit Sulangi,veterinary officers in the Department of Veterinary Services and Animal Industry (JPHPT) Kota Marudu said that the concept of swiftlet farming is not complex as the project doesn’t need high maintenance.
“The environment is crucial for swiftlet farming, which includes the availability of clean water and a surrounding vegetation that attract swamps of insects that swiftlets feed on,” he said.
Jobit also said that the idea of the project is simple.
“You just need to put up a well-designed and well-equipped swiftlet house at the right spot, and the birds will come and soon, you can keep harvesting their nests for many years.
“In the long run it is a lucrative project,” he said.
In a swiftlet farm, the first thing that could be heard would be the chirping of birds but they would usually come from a recorded audio of the birds played incessantly to attract the birds.
“Depending on the quality and marketplace, a kilogramme of bird nest can fetch a few thousand ringgit. The bird nest is sold at RM3,000 to RM4,000 per kg in the market,” he said. – By Fizah Yusof/SayangSabah