SARGODHA: The livestock and dairy development department is encouraging people to set up ostrich farms due to an increase in demand and a reasonable profit ratio.
Ostriches are farmed on a commercial basis in dozens of farms across Punjab for their meat, hide and feathers. The bird’s meat is very similar in taste to mutton but contains very low cholesterol and fat.
Ostriches, which are now considered to be a part of livestock in Punjab, are becoming a popular source of meat due to its delicious taste and health benefits. Pakistan has not only the suitable climatic conditions for ostrich farming, it has also the required manpower, infrastructure and feed much cheaper than many other countries.
While speaking to Express News, Livestock Deputy Director Dr Tanveer Ahmed said, “The livestock department is providing technical support and advice for establishing successful ostrich business in Pakistan.”
He claimed, ‘Assistance is being provided by the department and Rs10,000 subsidy is also being given to farm owners.”
He pointed out the demand of ostrich meat is rising due to minimum level of cholesterol, fat and protein while its taste is also being liked by people.
Dr Tanveer mentioned that more than 300 ostrich hens are breeding in different farms in the district while people are also showing interest in hatching of these birds. He said, “The livestock department is also providing vaccination to these birds.”
Livestock experts have advised the farmers that ostrich is one of the biggest birds in the world. They added that ostrich uses low quantity of food but offers handsome meat. Its meat has low cholesterol, low fats and rich protein, which is beneficial for hepatitis and diabetes patients, they said.
Experts maintained that the bird’s skin is considered as the second most expensive skin after crocodile in the international market. There is high demand for ostrich skin across the world, they said.
They elaborated that although, ostrich meat offers low fats, oil extracted from fats, is one of expensive oil used to abolish dryness of human skin and healing of skin cuts. Ostrich feathers also offer handsome returns as these are used for decoration, they said.
Many people have taken ostrich farming as a business. The inspiration to invest in the sector came through the livestock exhibitions. In recent years, the government has taken various measures to boost the sector. However, still awareness and more efforts are needed to convert ostrich farming into a profitable business.
However, a number of farmers complained of lack of support from the government in this regard.
They said the Punjab government has declared ostrich a livestock but no veterinary assistance is available to ostrich farmers as is provided to those in the livestock business. They demanded the government to facilitate farmers in a bid to boost ostrich farming.
The provincial government also provides Rs10,000 subsidy per ostrich to farmers and as of 2017, had registered over 10,000 ostriches in the province.
Earlier, the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences distributed Rs6 million as subsidy among 49 ostrich farmers under its project, titled ‘Developing of Ostrich Farming in Punjab’. This project was launched in October 2016 with Rs70 million with a major portion of around Rs60 million to be distributed among ostrich farmers as subsidy. The UVAS had so far registered 3,000 ostrich chicks at 61 farms in 18 districts of Punjab.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2018.
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