The much awaited export of ostrich meat to the lucrative European Union (EU) market has been hit by lack of bird throughput with the operators of abattoirs putting exports on hold until it makes economic sense to sell.
This was said by the Quality Meat Chief Executive Officer, Jaco de Villers, in an interview with Sunday Standard on Friday.
“Currently all the beef of the 18 birds that were slaughtered recently are still in the refrigerators as we await to slaughter more birds so that it could be economically wise to start exporting,” he said.
Asked when that will happen, de Villers said that they are still waiting for more birds from Talana farms and then referred all questions to Talana Farms management.
He said Talana Farms are the only ones who have so far expressed interest in supplying ostriches to the Gaborone Multi Spieces Abattoir. All efforts to talk to Talana Farms Production Manager, Wellington Shamboko, who last month vowed that they will keep supplying the abattoir with increased numbers of birds, were futile.
Early this year when the announcement was first made that the European Union had permitted Botswana to export ostrich beef to it, there was hope in some quarters that this was going to see a resuscitation of the ostrich industry in the country which had ceased operation when the then Botswana Ostrich Abattoir stopped operating because of lack of birds to slaughter.
On the other hand, some like Kabo Sebele who have in past ventured into the ostrich business said that the granting of permission on its own will not revive the ostrich industry in the country on grounds that there was currently only Talana Farms with ostriches to sell in the whole country.
Sebele said government needed to do more to make sure the industry is revived. On what he thinks should be done exactly he said that government should among other things write off debts of those who had gone into the industry in the past in order to encourage them to go back to the industry as they are more likely to do so than new ones.