October 17, 2012
By Lao Dong
Salanganes attract everybody
In Tam Thon Hiep commune of Can Gio district in HCM City, there are a lot of houses of salanganes, which local residents call “Ba’s house” or “Chin’s house.” In fact, these are not the real names of the owners of the houses. These are just the names used by local residents, who cannot remember the foreign names of the foreign owners.
The residents in the salanganes’ village surprisingly do not have deep knowledge about salangane farming.
“A house for salanganes costs one billion dong or more. How can we arrange so much money to invest in salangane farming?” Dang Thanh Tinh, a resident in An Hoa Hamlet of Tam Thon Hiep commune explained.
One of the most well-known salangane farms here is the one of a Malaysian person. In the commune alone, the man possesses four houses for salanganes which has begun providing products, earning one billion dong a month, and another one which is still under the construction.
In Can Gio district alone, 35,000 square meters of land have been reserved for breeding salanganes. A house for salanganes (5x20m, three floors) would cost over one billion dong, which is paid for the land, construction and technique.
This sum of money is really out of reach of the local people who have medium or low income. This explains why most of the owners of the salangane farms are foreigners or the big Vietnamese investors from HCM City.
“Ten years ago, when the Malaysian person built the first house for salanganes in the Tam Thon Hiep commune, people were very curious about the function of the house,” Tam Gam, one of the few local salangane farmers, recalled.
“Some years later, when he collected many kilos of salangane nests, did people realize what the man intended to do. Then some people have followed him to breed salanganes,” she said.
The gift from the God
The stories about the farmers who earn billions of dong a year from salangane nests have prompted investors to flock to Can Gio to build houses to “invite” salanganes to live here.
However, not everyone can reap fruits from their investments. Local residents say salangane nests are the “gifts from the God” which are not delivered equally to everyone.
Thanh, a local resident, said he built a house for salangane four years ago, but he still cannot take back the investment capital. Thanh said he spent money on “modern technologies and machines,” installing air conditioners, dew spraying machine, speakerphone system, odor generating machine to lure birds. However, the number of birds making their nests in Thanh’s house remains lower than he expects.
“At first, I received the technical assistance from a Malaysian engineer, who reassured me that I would harvest five kilos of nests a month after eight months of investment. The investment cost was 350 dollars per square meter,” Thanh said.
However, the number of birds making nests in the house was much lower than expected. Therefore, Thanh has decided to restart again with new techniques.
Tam Gam said that every household has its “know how” in farming salanganes. However, she said that the God will decide who will succeed with the farming. A lot of investors apply modern technologies and make heavy investments, but they cannot entice the birds.
Photo Credit:VietNamNet Bridge