|Animal health workers check a bird house in HCM City's Can Gio District. The country is preparing a decree on farming edible bird's nests to provide a greater sense of security. — VNA/VNS Photo Manh Linh
by Xuan Huong
HCM CITY — The first decree dealing with the farming of edible nests built by swifts using their saliva will impose conditions on the farms' location, maintenance and the use of sounds to lure the birds.
At a meeting organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in HCM City yesterday, several enterprises, agriculture officials and experts agreed on the need for regulations to enable better management of the industry.
The regulations would also provide a greater sense of security for enterprises, they said.
Farming swifts for their edible nests has developed strongly in Viet Nam since 2007, mostly in HCM City and other southern and central provinces, said Nguyen Duc Trong, deputy head of the Department of Livestock Production.
However, there was no legal framework or development guidelines that would enable the new industry to develop in a sustainable manner, he said, explaining the ministry's rationale for drafting a decree.
The draft decree stipulates conditions that cover the location, the use of sound to lure the birds, hygiene, disease control, as well as other aspects of exploitation.
Participants expressed basic agreement with the contents of the draft decree, but said it should have details to be effective.
According to the draft decree, birdhouses that are built after the decree takes effect should comply with local zoning plans or obtain approval from local authorities.
It also encourages the building of birdhouses far from residential areas, hospitals, schools and markets.
But Tran Quang Cui, deputy director of the southern Kien Giang Province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said, "the ministry should regulate that birdhouses must be located far from residential areas, hospitals and schools and markets, instead of just encouraging enterprises to do so."
Many other participants agreed with Cui that conditions for the location of birdhouses should be mandatory.
Delegates also agreed that those birdhouses that were built before having the decree must be upgraded to minimise negative health and environment impacts, and wanted the decree to stipulate clearly how the upgrade should be done and the time period in which it should be done.
The draft decree stipulates that the sounds used to lure the birds should not exceed 70dBA between 6am and 9pm, and 55dBA in the hours thereafter.
Many delegates disagreed with this provision, saying the condition should only apply to the hours between 9pm and 6am, and there was no need to regulate the sound during daytime.
Huynh Phuoc Trung, deputy director of the HCM City Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, asked the Veterinary Department to issue guidelines on dealing with diseases to help localities and breeders.
Do Tu Quan, general director of the Cuu Long Phi Joint Stock Company, said that to export the edible nests to foreign markets, the products must meet requirements set by importing countries, like having legal certificate for swifts breeding as well as certification that the nests from the farms are fit for consumption and have export permits.
However, all these conditions are not covered by the draft decree, she said.
Deputy Minister Vu Van Tam said the ministry would work further on the decree to help enterprises meet requirements set by importing countries and facilitate exports of the edible nests.
The ministry would collect all opinions from delegates and promulgate the official decree as soon as possible to help develop the industry in a sustainable manner, he said.
With its favourable weather, Viet Nam has good potential for farming swifts for their nests, according to Dang Pham Minh Loan, general director of theYen Viet Joint Stock Company.
Currently, Thailand, Malaysia and Thailand are the world's biggest suppliers, accounting for 80-90 per cent of the world output.
Viet Nam is said to have about 700 enterprises and households engaged in breeding swifts in 1,500 birdhouses, producing around 10 tonnes of bird's nests a year. — VNS