While the Khmer Swiftlet Association (KSA) has reported a substantial surge in swiftlet house construction in recent years, it said the increase has not kept up with soaring demand for bird’s nests, resulting in supply shortages in the market.

Suy Kokthean, president of KSA, said on August 30 that over the past three to four years, there has been a considerable boon in the sector, even during the Covid-19 crisis.

“Despite the rapid expansion of housing and breeding, we are still unable to meet market needs. The requirement has notably risen, particularly from overseas markets such as Hong Kong and China,” Kokthean stated.

He emphasised that Cambodia’s bird’s nest appeal is driven by its superior quality compared to other regional countries. The birds thrive here, with a specific temperature range and an abundance of rivers and forests that provide ample food sources.

“Cambodia’s lower pollution levels also set it apart from other nations. Plentiful food sources support the success of nesting facilities regardless of the province, provided they adhere to technical standards,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tre Nemol, founder of Swiftlet Cultivation Co. Ltd and a Malaysian roost fabrication specialist noted on August 30 that there is continued appetite for the product both domestically and internationally, albeit with a slight decrease in price compared to the previous year.

Regarding the building of habitats, Nemol highlighted that it has doubled or even tripled compared to the previous year due to heightened awareness that salangane farming brings in high revenue with limited competition.

“This year, we’ve witnessed a surge in farm creation, with customers from nearly every province. The favourable weather here also plays a role,” he added.

Nemol further said that his company exports its products to markets like China through Malaysian and Vietnamese traders. While acknowledging the complexity and time consumption of direct exports to China, he asserted that direct sales remain more profitable than going through intermediaries.

“In the near future, Cambodia stands a chance to directly ship to China, thanks to the rising number of production units. This will lead to increased harvests,” Nemol said.

Presently, according to KSA’s president, exports are unofficially sent to Vietnam, Thailand, and China. However, the association collaborates closely with stakeholders, especially the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and the Ministry of Commerce, to advocate for a national policy that can position this product as a key trading commodity with substantial potential.