Batswana need to resuscitate ostrich industry – Dube

Breeding cash: Ostriches are a money spinner in other countries
Breeding cash: Ostriches are a money spinner in other countries

Botswana Ostrich Farmers Association (BOFA) assistant secretary Valentine Dube says, now more than ever, Batswana need to resuscitate the ostrich industry to complement government in its Economic Diversification Drive (EDD), Poverty Eradication Strategy (PES) amongst others.

Dube told Mmegi that ostriches were endemic to the local environment with Botswana being habitat to the world’s largest population of the bird.

He said conversely, commercial production of ostriches in Botswana is least behind regional producers such as South Africa (SA), Namibia and Zimbabwe as well as exotic producers such as China, Europe and America.

“Although market prices for ostrich products are given to fluctuations, prevailing conditions favour local production since SA, the major producer responsible for approximately 70 percent of global production has its fresh products banned from the European (EU) markets,” he said.

Dube added that while commercial production was recommended, the industry could learn from the local beef industry, which thrived despite limited commercial producers.

He said subsistence cattle farmers had been pivotal to the success of the beef industry and this challenges the perception that the ostrich industry was exclusive; therefore all Batswana regardless of economic status could play a role in the development of that industry.

“The government of Botswana has over the years made advances in creating an enabling environment for the industry.

These include the establishment of Dibete Ostrich Multiplication Unit (DOMU) to supply services and products to the ostrich industry, construction of an EU approved abattoir, current apportionment of incubator ostrich farms as well as the provision of able technical support through the Ministry of Agriculture,” he said. Furthermore, Dube highlighted that BOFA as a potential key player in the ostrich industry in Botswana had positioned itself to be a catalyst in the development of the industry as a whole.

He said the association had undertaken initiatives that sought to build its capacity in order to improve service delivery to its stakeholders, chiefly the producers.

“The workshop is the initial of several initiatives and programmes to be delivered by BOFA in collaboration with its partners. We will be hosting a Leadership and Business Development Workshop on January 19 till 21,  at the Cooperatives Training Centre in Sebele at 8am.

“The three day workshop, supported by the Department of Management and the  University of Botswana, will bring together stakeholders including Ministry of Agriculture, ostrich farmers and aspiring farmers to discuss ways on how to stimulate the ostrich industry in Botswana,” he added.

He said the purpose of the workshop was to build capacity of ostrich farmers and those interested in the industry to enhance delivery on the association’s mandate.

He said it (workshop) had been designed to back up the various activities carried out as part of the effort BOFA was undertaking in its development process.

The workshop also aims to motivate the association members to boldly buttress its role in the industry and advance its objectives.

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