The Gaborone Multipurpose Abattoir, formerly the Gaborone Ostrich Abattoir, will start slaughtering ostriches next month after having stopped doing so years ago because of lack of birds to slaughter.
This was disclosed by the Deputy Director in the Ministry of Agriculture, Gertrude Gakelebale.
She said that the decision to start slaughtering birds in August was reached recently after consultation with the abattoir but declined to answer any further questions on the issue.
“I think the abattoir owners will be better placed to answer any more questions,” she said.
Botswana was early this year given permission to start exporting ostrich beef to the lucrative European Union markets. The news was announced by the Director of Animal Production, DR Philemon Motsu.
The news cheered Talana Farms Manager, Johan Porgieper, who is the biggest ostrich farmer in the country – owning thousands of birds. This will see him being able to sell his birds and, maybe, expand.
He is sure he will be able to sell 1 000 ready-to-slaughter birds this year then increase the number by a thousand each year. Besides himself, Porgieper saw this as an opportunity for other people to come into the business of ostrich farming, saying some people were reluctant to go into ostrich farming because of lack of markets for the birds.
But others, who have in the past ventured into the business but left after the closure of the abattoir, said that the development will only benefit the Talana farmer as he is currently the only farmer with ostriches in the country.
Botswana is believed to be home to the biggest number of wild ostriches in the world but has got few reared commercially. To grapple with this problem, the MOA has set up Dibete Ostrich Multiplication Center to tutor farmers on ostrich farming and also sell ostrich chicks to those wishing to start ostrich farming.