Authorities in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta are scratching their heads over a proper way to manage mushrooming bird nest farming across many localities in the region.
As local residents can easily take part in the lucrative bird nest business by just making some adjustments to their houses, the activity has become so common that it is negatively impacting people’s lives and urban development.
Nguyen Thi Tuyen, who lives in Soc Trang City in the namesake province, complained about the constant noise coming from bird nest farming activities of her next-door neighbor.
“They have a machine that produces sound to lure the swiftlets into the house, which keep us awake all night,” Tuyen said. “I have an 11-year-old daughter and it’s very difficult for her to focus on her homework.”
Many residents in Soc Trang, as well as many other provinces in the Mekong Delta, are suffering a similar situation, after swiftlet farming operations started booming in the region a few years ago.
Complaints and opposition have been brought up during regular meetings of the People’s Councils in these localities, but no changes have seemed to be made.
In Rach Gia City, Kien Giang Province, an online forum was established just to object to the business.
According to Nguyen Hieu, a bird nest farmer in Go Cong town, Tien Giang Province, swiftlet nests cost about VND35 million (US$1,537) per kilogram.
A 100-square-meter facility can yield up to five kilograms of bird nest, Hieu added.
“It is a very profitable business. You just need to fix the top floor of your house, lure the birds inside, and can earn a few million dong a month [VND1 million = $44],” said Tran Minh Hoang, deputy head of the economic office in Go Cong.
|A bird nest farming facility in Rach Gia City, Kien Giang Province. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
In order to manage bird nest farming in Rach Gia City, authorities only allow locals to lure swiftlets by using sound from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm.
According to Nguyen Van Hon, vice-chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, about 30 houses, which were built for the business operation, have been pulled down in the past three months.
Owners of these facilities only applied for a permit to renovate their houses, not for farming swiftlet nests, Hon elaborated.
In Tien Giang Province, the administration has seemed to be powerless to manage the activities despite enforcing several rules.
While the regulations only allow bird nest farming to be carried out in certain areas in the province, a lot of facilities are still operating against the rules in many neighborhoods.
Nguyen Thi Thu Anh, an official from the economic office in My Tho City, Tien Giang, said it is hard to control the situation.
Meanwhile, Nguyen Van Trung, deputy head of the city’s agricultural office, attributed the problem to the lack of specific law that determines the penalty for violators in the field of business.
Authorities in several Mekong Delta provinces have asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to promulgate particular regulations for bird nest farming activities.