|Swiftlet farming is a new development trend in Chu Se district, Gia Lai province. (Photo: VOV)
Many people in Chu Se district are building birdhouses and using audio devices to entice swiftlets to nest and breed there. The district now has about 230 salangane houses, producing a monthly output of 50 kilos of edible nests. With market prices ranging from 870 to 1,100 USD a kilo, a household can earn thousands of dollars a month.
Nguyen Van Hop, head of the district’s agriculture and rural development section, said, “We’ve instructed farm households engaged in the salangane industry to register a business license and follow food hygiene and safety standards to ensure that their products are qualified for consumers. We’ll help them register their products for participation in the district’s ‘One Commune One Product’ program and build a brand for Chu Se edible bird nests.”
The swiftlet farming model in Chu Se has created stable incomes for many local people. Pham Tien Dung, a salangane pioneer, says his family’s financial condition began to improve in 2014 when he switched from growing peppers to raising salanganes.
He recalled, “In October, 2014, I built a 90-square-meter house for swiftlets. In 7 years, our output has grown to 20 kilos of bird nests a month. Our farm now exceeds 1,000 square meters, but the original two birdhouses produce the most – as much as 8 kilos a month. Farming swiftlets takes a lot of time. In the first 3 years, our output wasn’t high. Early this year, the price of bird nests increased unexpectedly to 1100 USD a kilo.”
|Chu Se farmers harvest a big volume of edible bird nests. (Photo: VOV)
La Van Phong, another resident of Chu Se town, also has a stable income from swiftlet breeding. In 2016 he invested 13,100 USD in building birdhouses roofed with boards and equipped with audio systems, humidifiers, and temperature sensors. Six years later, his family earns 4,400 USD per month from harvesting bird nests.
Phong told VOV, “When I began to farm swiftlets, I had to go to Ayun Pa to sign with the Khanh Hoa Salangane Nest Company. I began on an area of 120 square meters. It’s been 6 years now. Last year I harvested between 50 and 60 kilos of nests. After the initial investment I’ve only had to spend about 13 USD a month for electricity and water. Salangane farming is like growing pepper or coffee. Farmers begin to see a profit after the third crop.”
By collaborating with each other, swiftlet farmers in Chu Se have created a line of luxury bird nest products that command higher prices. The agricultural sector of Chu Se is trying to build a brand for its edible bird nests and use e-commerce platforms to publicize the brand at home and abroad.