Wednesday September 26, 2012
Bird’s nests to head for China in December
By WINNIE YEOH
LANGKAWI: The local bird's nest industry is set to soar again in December with the resumption of exports to China.
Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Chua Tee Yong said Malaysia hoped to resume the export of raw cleaned bird's nests in December.
“The country hopes to do this by the end of the year before working with China over the issue of raw uncleaned bird's nests.
“We will meet the Health Ministry to look into China's requirements for the traceability of bird's nests produced in Malaysia right from the farm,” he said after launching the First Regional Conference on Agrobiodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Utilisation here yesterday.
A list of exporters for bird's nest would also need to be forwarded to China, added Chua.
“The arrangement is similar to durian exports, in that the fruits need to go through an audit by China's General Administration on Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.
“The traceability issue is not confined to Malaysia. Any country that imports food will want some form of traceability,” he said.
Last week, it was announced that China had agreed to set aside the mandatory use of radio frequency identification (RFID) tags on bird's nests exported by Malaysian swiftlet farmers from the protocol of entry into the country.
With the removal of the mandatory use of RFID, swiftlet farmers can now use any of the three traceability systems recognised by the Government, which are the RFID, barcode and QR (quick response) code.
Some 250 tonnes of Malaysian bird's nests were exported to China before the country imposed a ban in July last year after finding high levels of nitrites.
On another matter, Chua said farmers should carry out sustainable good agricultural practices, involving the controlled use of pesticides, fertilisers and other chemicals, to ensure food security.
Such practices, he added, could prevent the land from turning into hard soil one which does not absorb nutrients resulting in a negative impact on farming.
“Currently, the take up on good agricultural practice is not great with only 379 farms occupying 12,000ha of land. There are also 84 organic farmers cultivating 1,500ha of land.
“However, the ministry and its agencies, along with non-governmental bodies and associations, are working towards promoting such farming as it will benefit both the people and farmers.”