Talana Farms manager, Johan Portgieter, says that they are already starting preparations to send their ostriches to the ostrich abattoir in Gaborone following the announcement made recently by the Director of Animal Production, DR Philemon Motsu, that the country has been licensed to export ostrich by products to foreign markets, including the EU.
“I am happy to tell you that we are already starting to prepare to send our ready to slaughter ostriches to the market now,” he said. Portgieter says that they are planning to sell at least 2000 birds this year and that the number they send will keep increasing by a 1000 a year.
He said that, currently, there is shortage of ostrich meat in Europe because South Africa, which used to be the market’s biggest producer, is currently battling a very serious problem of bird flu that has already seen at least one million birds destroyed to prevent further spread of the disease.
“South Africa’s absence in the market should inspire us to produce more in order to fill the gap they have left in the lucrative overseas markets,” he said.
Portgieter said that the licensing is good news that he hopes will inspire more people to go into the industry but warned that it is a very risky business that requires a lot of hard work and motivation.
“This is a very complicated business that requires a lot of hard work, hands on management and motivation,” he said.
On average price, one can hope to get P4 500 for a ready to slaughter bird after nine months of rearing, said the Talana Farm manager.
Some people who have gone into the industry before the closure of the abattoir are still battling with loans they had acquired from banks to go into the industry.