Le Duy Minh, chairman of the Vietnam Farms and Agricultural Enterprises Association, said on Friday the association was established for the purpose of linking the State, scientists, entrepreneurs and farmers in the swift-breeding industry, supporting swift breeders to sell their products at reasonable prices, and building a brand for Vietnamese bird nests for both domestic and export markets.
The association will work to ensure products supplied by members of the association will have consistent quality and clear origin to protect consumers, he said.
Le Van Lanh, owner of a swift breeding establishment in the central coastal province of Khanh Hoa, said swift nests are high in protein, low in fat and contain various amino acids essential to the human body and other beneficial substances.
Swifts usually build their nests in deep caves on islands or along steep cliffs. In the past, people used their nests only to serve the king and noble families.
The swift-breeding industry has developed quickly in many places such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Australia, and Hong Kong, with Indonesia producing about 100 tonnes of nests annually and Thailand and Malaysia about 60-70 tonnes a year.
In Vietnam, high profits have lured many investors to invest in breeding the birds indoors in recent years, they said.
Le Huu Hoang, chairman of Khanh Hoa Bird Nest Company, said more than 5,000 houses have been built for breeding the birds in 36 provinces and cities, almost doubling from three years ago.
Breeding the birds has also developed strongly in HCM City thanks to favourable weather, according to the HCM City Department of Agriculture and Rural development.
The city has 542 swift houses in 19 districts, of which 231 are in Can Gio District, providing a total output of more than six tonnes a year.
Currently, raw bird nest is priced at VND20-30 million (US$880-$1,322) per kilo, while a kilo of refined bird nest is at VND40-45 million, and even VND100-200 million for some special types.
Vietnamese bird nest is evaluated to have higher quality compared to that from some other countries, according to an expert who did not want to be named.
Some bird nest products available in the market have poor quality, he said, adding that some traders even import bird nest from other countries and sell them under the Vietnamese bird nest brand.
Therefore, the establishment of the Vietnamese Swiftlet Farming Association will enable members to supervise and commit to provide guaranteed quality, avoid trade fraud and increase the value of Vietnamese bird nest, he said.
According to the city’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, a zoning plan for swift breeding in the city has been submitted to the People’s Committee, and it will be published in the coming time to ensure the sustainable development of the industry.