Swiftlet ranching is mushrooming all over Sarawak. In Sibu, swiftlet farmhouses have popped up here and there. In time to come, this may become a notable feature locally.
Swiftlet ranching has immense economic value. I understand that there is growing demand for birdnests from Hong Kong and China where prosperity have dramatically changed the pattern of life style. Luxurious foodstuffs like birdnests have tremendous markets not only externally but also domestically. This is the present growing trend.
Broadly speaking, swiftlet ranching is an agro-based industry. In time to come, with incentives and subsidisation, this industry has every potential to flourish into a viable economic activity. As such, the state government has obligation to step in to boost the growth of it.
But the incident two days ago in Mukah dismayed the operators of swiftlet ranching. According to the news, some officers from the Forestry Department, armed with sprays and equipment, demolished the swiftlet farmhouses.
Sarawak Swiftlets Ranching Merchant Association reacted fast with a strong protest, calling the move as shocking and a "daylight robbery".
The demolition exercise was tantamount to killing off an upcoming industry at its infancy. A more pro-active move would be to license the operators with regulations.
Let's get down to serious regulatory exercise to bring up this trade!