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Monday, November 16, 2009

Malaysian Edible Swiftlets

Edible swiftlets (Burung Walit) is under Order Apodiformers and only found in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Southern Thailand and Philippines. In Malaysia, this Edible-BirdNest (EBN) was farmed in caves for more than 100 years. It was recorded as early as 1878 at Niah Caves in Sarawak and harvested by local natives as health food chains. This bird has a pair short toes, cannot hold and helpless on the ground with 13 cm long and 7.5 cm width. They breed in deep caves or a cave like darkness, navigating in pitch darkness by means of echolocation as similar to bats. It was so much different to swallows with many characteristics. It has 9 species and habits in nesting, eats only insects and do its activities on wings (eat, drinks, copulate). It fly for 160 km/hours and at altitude for 2,000 meters above sea levels. The birds start going out from the nest in early day (morning) and come back at late day.

Record in Malaysia shows that in 2005 only about 20,000 premises with EBN was increase to 50,000 premise in 2008 (an increase of 150%). The value of this industry was about RM 200 million in 2004 and reaches to as high as RM 1.0 billion (RM1,000 million) in 2008. About 80% of the premises reported are located at Shop lots, 16% in agricultural area and the remaining under commercial building and caves. The new technology was available to prepare a building quite similar to the caves with Echo-sound CD system, humidifier, proper aeration, multiple stack nesting area, GAHP and sanitation measures.

The raw-bird nest valued at RM 4,000 per kilogram in Malaysia and the estimated production about 5 kg/premise of raw EBN. China is the biggest market in the world whereby the China demand was increase from 4,965 kg in 2006 to 51,763 kg in 2008 (tremendous increase). Most EBN from Malaysia are exported to Singapore (46%), Hong Kong (40%), Indonesia (3%), Taiwan (3%) and others. It was claimed that EBN can increase human health, increase blood circulation, reduce toxin as antioxidant and skin perfections.

White birdnest upon cleaning processes at Muar Shoplots.

There is a huge opportunities of EBN industry in Malaysia. Below are some points for discussion on EBN activity in Malaysia:-

a. Bigger market in the world - 513 million population need EBN
b. Aaccess to technology, capital, raw material and labor
c. Synergies based on comparative advantages
d. Development of suppliers and outsourcing
e. Competition from more cost efficient among ASEAN countries
f. Restructuring and rationalization
g. Business partnership establishment and industrial linkages
h. SMI's development in processing
i. Encouragement by policies and support by government
j. High value commodities and market accessibility

Related articles:
1. Burung Pungguk (Click here)
2. Burung Pipit (Click here)
3. Cengkerik (Click here)
4. Kerengga (Click here)

M Anem
(Ref. from MS Seminar on JPV Paper on Malaysian Standard)
Concorde Hotel,
Shah Alam,

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