KOTA BARU: Unlike most other states, breeding swiftlets for birds' nests is licensed by the state authorities in Kelantan.
The state has become one of the largest producers of birds' nests in the country.
The centre of the industry lies here and in Kuala Krai and Tumpat. And a purpose-built township for rearing swiftlets is planned in Jalan Pantai Cahaya Bulan soon.
The annual licensing fee for a swiftlet building is RM1,000 for the first floor, and RM500 each for subsequent storeys.
Unlike most breeders, Ooi Siong Hwa has chosen not to breed swiftlets in town. He has built a breeding structure in the middle of a padi field in Tumpat.
He says that though the initial investment was high -- RM300,000 -- he expects excellent returns.
A kilogramme of high quality birds' nests fetches about RM7,000. Most are exported to Hong Kong and China.
Birds' nests have been used in Chinese cuisine for over 400 years, and are believed to have medicinal value. - NST