Sunday, September 27, 2020

MOA grooming ostrich farmers

The Ministry of Agriculture’s efforts to revive ostrich farming in the country is starting to bear fruit as about 30 farmers have so far been introduced to ostrich farming in the Ministry’s Dibete Ostrich Multiplication Center and have, soon after completion of their studies, bought chickens to start their circles of production.

DR Letlhogile Modise, the Director of Animal Health Production, says this shows great determination by the newly trained farmers and a clear sign that the centre is meeting its intention of producing farmers with intention of going into the industry.

“The farmers’ determination has shown that the industry has a great future in the country and that the centre is serving its purpose of reviving the industry in the country by producing determined ostrich farmers,” said Modise.

He added that the centre also provides breeding stock to farmers who are interested in the industry as well as familiarizing farmers with ostrich production and its benefits, which not only include selling meat but its lucrative leather industry as well as duster and trophy making.

He said that MOA staff is also doing job training at the centre where they learn how they can assist farmers who come for mentoring and coaching in the industry.

Besides the lessons given to farmers, he said that a hatchery has been built to hatch eggs to increase the population such that more breeding stock is attained for the provision of farmers as well as the national stock.

He further said that in order to make the industry viable, a leather tannery incubatory project has been facilitated at Pilane to revive leather tannery and product making industry to the public, including that of ostriches. MOA staff has also been trained to provide better extension service to farmers.

On the problems the centre is encountering, Modise said they experience problems such as lack of skilled manpower to manage the facility in and outside government working hours.

Wild animals, such as jackals and stray dogs, tend to attack chicks because of their vulnerability and excite other birds with their noise resulting in lot of injuries as some chicks break their legs and wings.

On how they are solving the problems, he said that they are employing temporary staff to guard the birds from predators and collect eggs at awkward hours before they are destroyed or stolen by predators, such as baboons.

He noted that fences have been constructed in order to deter predators and pointed out that, currently, the centre has 935 breeding birds.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.