Cambodian trade delegation explores partnership with Indonesians on bird nest business

Cambodian and Indonesia business delegations at the 37th Trade Expo Indonesia at the ICE in Baten province, Indonesia. KT/Kang Sothear

Banten, Indonesia – A group of Cambodian trade delegation yesterday discussed possibilities of business partnership with officials of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Indonesia and representatives of bird nest business associations in two sessions during their first trade mission in two years since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the global economy.

The first meeting was arranged by Cambodia’s Ministry of Commerce (MoC) and the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Phnom Penh to discuss the trade objectives with the Indonesian agriculture officials led by Andri Hanindyo Wibowo, Head of Marketing Development Sector of the Directorate General of Livestock and Animal Health Services of the Ministry of Agriculture of Indonesia and the representatives of the bird nest associations.

The second session was a business-to-business meeting without government officials’ participation. The two sessions of the meeting on bird nest business were held alongside the 37th Trade Expo Indonesia at the Indonesia Convention Exhibition Centre (ICE) where various products made by Indonesia’s manufacturers in different industries were displayed at more than 1,000 booths and attended by foreign buyers from about 100 countries around the world and local residents.

In the meeting with both Indonesian agriculture officials and associations, Srey Sophal, Chairman of Angkor Bird Nest, said the Cambodian government through the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China counterpart to pave way for Cambodian swiftlet raisers to export their products to China market.

“That’s why we are looking for a business partnership in terms of technical support from you who have good experience in bird nest business development and I think your country is the largest exporter of bird nest in the world. So, we want to cooperate with you,” Sophal said in the first session also attended by the officials of the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Phnom Penh led by Lauti Nia Astri, Minister Counsellor of Economic Cooperation of the Embassy.

Sophal added that Angkor Bird Nest also seek partnership with Indonesian bird nest businesspeople to set up a training centre in Cambodia in form of the establishment of a joint venture to develop human resource for the development of the bird nest industry along with a plan to build a factory to process the bird nest in the country.

Andri of Indonesia’s Ministry of Agriculture said the Southeast Asian country has been the largest exporter of bird nests—raised in about 15,000 houses nationwide and exported by members of five associations—to the rest of the world such as China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and the United States, while the amount of this product exported to Cambodia has been very small compared to others.

“I hope that we will be able to export more to your country and we are ready to provide you with facilitation to build business cooperation or partnership with the private sector in the bird nest sector,” Andri told Khmer Times on the sidelines of the first session that the Indonesian government cannot interfere the negotiation between the private companies with their prospective partners. “Let’s do the businesses talk with each other as we just facilitate what they want to do with each other and we encourage for export of bird nest too,” she said.

Suyanto Chen, Director and Founder of a bird nest factory that he declined to name but is a member of Perkumpulan Pengusaha Sarang Burung Indonesia (PPSBI)—a bird nest association with more than 100 members that are mostly exporters—told Khmer Times on the sidelines of the second session that the immediate deal between Cambodian trade delegate and Indonesian businesspeople should be trading.

Febrina, International Relations Department Manager of PT Fortune Nestindo Sukses, told Khmer Times on the sidelines of the second session that Cambodian delegates want to get technical support from the bird nest associations in Indonesia and import clean bird nests from this country because Cambodia cannot supply more raw materials and raw clean bird nests.

“They do not have many sources of suppliers. They also said about an initiative to set up a training centre in your country and we will put it under the review by the management, but I think it is a slow move … because it would take time and experience to train people there. So, we need to find more experienced employees to provide such training, which is a bit difficult,” said Febrina, who declined to disclose her full name.

Source: Khmer Times