Vietnamese bird’s nests see opportunities to enter Chinese market

Vietnamese bird's nests see great potential for export to China as people in China and Chinese communities in other countries across the world spend about US$5 billion on bird’s nests and related products.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the General Administration of Customs of China signed a protocol on requirements for quarantine, inspection and veterinary hygiene for bird’s nests of Vietnam to be exported to China.

The protocol, which took effect in November last year, is said to be a condition for Vietnamese bird’s nests to conquer the Chinese market after Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand.

In Central Highland provinces, swiftlet farms have registered for production area codes and completing documents in line with the protocol. Authorities also support enterprises in registering for exporting bird’s nests to China.

Nguyen Dung, vice president of the Vietnam Farms and Agricultural Enterprises Association, said that China opening door to Vietnamese bird’s nests via official channels brings opportunities to the local bird’s nest industry.

Exports to China and countries with big Chinese communities like the US, Australia, and New Zealand is a way to increase the value of the product.

Currently, bird’s nests are considered one of the most expensive foods in the world.

He said that to prosper in the business,  swiftlet farmers need to connect with cooperatives and companies to obtain international certifications, which will help their products to be sold for good prices.

Individuals and units in the bird’s nest industry should also diversify products to better reach potential consumers.

According to the Vietnam association of swiftlet farms, almost all the farms in Vietnam harvest and process the nests by themselves and then sell in a small scale. As a result, although Vietnam has nests brands, their quality fails to meet international standards.

Currently, Vietnam mostly exports raw bird’s nests with low value through unofficial channels.

Statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development show there are about 23,600  swiftlet farms in 42 out of 63 localities across the country.

The country sees a production of about 200 tonnes of bird’s nests and exports over 120 tonnes worth US$450 million each year.

Tran Phuong Tuan, director of Vietnam Bird’s Nests Company (VinBirdnest) said that the protocol relating to the export of Vietnamese bird’s nests to China brings opportunities for the industry as China is the world's largest market for bird's nests.

When the market is activated, the bird's nest industry of Vietnam will be restructured, creating higher added value, helping to improve the income and profits for bird nest farmers and processors.

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