Ho Chi Minh City authorities have promised to provide people in outlying Can Gio District with financial support to produce edible bird nests, as part of an effort to eliminate poverty in the area.
Dinh La Thang, secretary of the municipal Party Committee, suggested the idea during a meeting with leaders of the People’s Committees from Ly Nhon, An Thoi Dong, and Binh Khanh Communes on Sunday.
Prior to the meeting, Thang took a first-hand look at how local residents live solely on the production of shrimp, sea salt, and edible bird nests.
According to salt farmers, with the average price of VND300 (US$0.01) to VND600 ($0.03) per kilogram, they can only make up to VND50 million ($2,197) a year, while production costs account for about VND30 million ($1,318).
Meanwhile, raising shrimp can earn them a higher yearly income of between VND100 million ($4,395) and VND120 million ($5,274), local residents said, adding that risks associated with this aquaculture include bad weather and polluted water resources.
Only the sale of swiftlet bird nests can generate a stable revenue thanks to their high price, about VND20 million ($879) per kilogram.
Secretary Dinh La Thang, who wears a dark blue shirt, visits a farm in Can Gio District where local residents raise shrimp and produce sea salt. Photo: Tuoi Tre
But raising edible-nest swiftlets requires billions of dong (VND1 billion = $43,955) in initial capital, local residents said.
As over 50 percent of the households in Can Gio are poor, Secretary Thang stated that edible bird nest production would be the most viable means to help them escape poverty on account of low risk and high profit.
The official suggested that each family could be offered VND300 million ($13,139) to VND400 million ($17,582) in loans to start the business, which received positive feedback from the locals.
He set a goal to help eradicate poverty in Can Gio by 2020, asserting that focus should be directed to switching from sea salt production to shrimp and bird nest production.
Competent agencies should assist residents in building a brand for their products to attract consumers and investment, Thang added.