Despite the classification of Botswana’s dry terrain as “excellent” for ostrich breeding, the country’s efforts to rare and ultimately export its meat are not bearing any fruits.
The slaughtering of ostrich meat apparently stopped more than a year ago when the former main supplier of the birds Talana Farms also stopped its supplies.
Sunday Standard has established that at the moment there are no ostriches to slaughter at Gaborone Multi Purpose Abattoir.
Kaelo Mosinyi, a former ostrich farmer says that he is not surprised that the abattoir has not slaughtered any birds in over a year because he says the ostrich industry is very expensive to run.
“My friends and I made the mistake of venturing into this business in the past…I can tell you now that ostrich business is very expensive and that is why there are currently no birds to slaughter at the abattoir “, he said
Mosinyi also said that some farmers, including himself still owe banks money that was invested into the “expensive business”.
“We still owe banks even as we speak we have failed to make any returns from the business and only made debt”, he said.
Some years ago after realizing the difficulties Batswana who wanted to venture into the business encounter, the government set the Ostrich Multiplication Center in Dibete to amongst other things teach Batswana the skills of ostrich farming and to sell stock to them that they can set up their ostriches farms with.
This effort has apparently borne no fruits as there are still no farmers who are able to supply ostriches. About two years ago, Botswana got a green light to export ostrich meat to lucrative European markets. As it stands, the Ostriches export business in Southern Africa is still dominated by South Africa which also exports to Europe.