After many years of trying to get a license to export ostrich by products to international markets, including the lucrative European Union markets, Botswana has finally been given the licence.
The granting of license, which is bound to be sweet news to ostrich farmers in the country who have been complaining about lack of markets for their products, was confirmed by the Director of Animal Production, Dr Philemon Motsu.
“Yes, we have been granted the license we have been seeking over the years and our hope is that this will encourage dormant farmers to revive their business and encourage aspiring ones to go into the business,” he said.
As a way of encouraging farmers to venture into the business, Motsu explained that the government has established Dibete Ostrich Multiplication Unit, which, amongst other things, sells ostrich chickens at P100 to encourage up-coming farmers.
Ready to slaughter ostriches can be sold at the Multipurpose Abattoir, which is currently renting the abattoir from the government and is situated in Gaborone North.
Motsu said that the abattoir has a capacity to slaughter 20, 000 ostriches per year. It was first built in 2001 when the government’s intentions were to help diversify the beef industry from being dominated by cattle exports.
Unfortunately, the abattoir closed in 2010 as a result of lack of birds to slaughter. This saw many aspiring ostrich farmers, who had secured bank loans in order to venture into the business, go bankrupt.
At one stage, they had even wanted to ask government to order parastatal banks from which they had obtained their loans to cancel the loans as they could no longer sell their products after the abattoir had closed. It is not known how this matter ended.