More than 100 countries have commenced ostrich farming just within three years and they consider it to be worth its weight in gold by saying that it is a cow that lays eggs.
Pakistan has the most favorable environment for ostrich farming. Some are convinced that the ostrich is a potential solution for food security, its physical structure is different from poultry and cattle, and it gains relatively more weight through feeding with low food consumption.
He added that the government should declare an ostrich estate like it has declared in the case of poultry estates in the city and land should be given in this regard, to resolve many issues.
It was noted that though Zarai Tarqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL), after testing, approved the technology but the bank was unwilling to declare it a liable loan worthy item despite the fact that last year the livestock federal secretary provided a certificate of ostriches being considered livestock.
Similarly, Sindh government took an initiative to establish a model ostrich farm at every district level, but this project went unheard. Legally this should be declared as livestock, and all duties and tariffs on ostrich are of exotic animals, so the government should make it a duty free for three years at least to promote this industry, he said.
Moreover, the imported chicks should not be stopped at the airports, and cited an incident where 40 imported chicks expired due to complications at customs, he said, adding that another important issue is the poor security situation in the outskirts of the city where most of the farms are established for foreign investment and he demanded better protection for investors by the Sindh Board of Investment (SBOI) and assured safety from land grabbers must also be ensured.
While speaking about the ostrich farming business he said he had started efforts in this regard in 2002 in an individual capacity and started operating commercially about four years ago. Now, he asserted, his company is the third largest in Pakistan, despite the fact that he had initially collaborated with a company that led to the incurring of heavy financial loss.
Now it’s a successful business and the parameters of success of this business include that livestock must be alive and people should invest in this business, he said. He ticked off the advantages that Pakistan holds and pointed out it has the most favorable climate for the breeding of ostriches; the feed cost is very low; labor cost is very low as almost every household in the country owns livestock, he added.
Last year, he pointed out that he did not have sufficient chicks due to increasing demand in the world. But this year we ensured its availability as we have imported some 3,000 chicks, while our target is to increase the number of chicks in the country up to 10,000 to establish this industry in the country as its demand will last for 10 years, he stated.
He stressed that Europe had increased 15 euros on a single chick this year, so people were discouraged from importing meat but to instead invest in breeding, he informed, adding that its meat is available at Rs 1,000 per kg, and an adult ostrich yields around 50 kilogrammes of meat.
It was acknowledged that ostrich meat prices is very expensive but informed that there is an effort underway to bring rates down to Rs 300 per kilogram within three years and Pakistan’s potential in this regard is high as compared to other countries so export is to be started, he said.
China is the biggest market for breeding of this bird, as according to the roughly estimates China had some 400 ostrich breeding farms in 2004 and China is considered to be the number one breeder in this regard but they did not open it yet, he said.