As part of efforts to boost the ostrich industry, the Ministry of Agriculture will be conducting lessons in ostrich farming throughout the country. The Ministry will also produce ostriches at its Dibete Ostrich Multiplication Center and sell them to aspiring ostrich farmers at subsidized prices.
This was revealed by the Ministry’s Principal Public Relations Officer, Boikhutso Rabasha recently. She refuted allegations that the facility was turning into a white elephant, insisting that it was fully carrying out its mandate.
“The facility is carrying out its mandate to the full as we speak, as such it cannot be true that it is turning into a white elephant,” she said.
She revealed that in the last one and half years, the facility has tutored 54 aspiring ostrich farmers. She added that the facility currently has 122 sub adult birds that they intend to sell to aspiring farmers at subsidized prices to help them start their business.
“We also have 720 breeder birds in the facility,” she said.
The Ministry, in conjunction with other stakeholders, is also coming up with an ostrich strategic plan which will guide the industry and come up with ways of developing it. Rabasha said their efforts were complemented by the re-opening of the multi species abattoir last year which is slaughtering birds mostly for foreign markets where ostrich meat is in very high demand. In the past, several farmers who had ventured into ostrich farming were left bankrupt after the abattoir, then called Gaborone Ostrich Abattoir, was shut down due to lack of enough birds to slaughter. Currently, ostrich farmers are reportedly facing difficulties in obtaining financial assistance from financial institutions, which view the business as high risk.