Ostrich production in Zimbabwe
Commercial ostrich farming is an important component of the local livestock industry. In Zimbabwe, domestic ostrich production began in 1985 and, as such, is still a new industry compared to the well-established operation in South Africa (Cooper, 1999a). Currently the farmed ostrich population in Zimbabwe stands at ~ 45 000, while the wild population remains at ~ 2 000. The growth of the industry has been promoted through increases in numbers of birds and the creation of an infrastructure to support the industry, thus permitting the slaughter of ostriches and the marketing of meat and skin (Cooper, 1999b). The industry is presently export-driven, selling mainly meat and skin. It is therefore a good generator of foreign currency, which maximises its earning capacity (Cooper, 1999c). Ostrich production is growing on a global scale (Gillespie and Schupp, 1998), resulting in increased market competition (Cooper, 1999d). This has increased the need for producers to improve their efficiency on the farm (Hallam, 1992). It is only with the dedication of producers that continual improvements in domestic ostrich production practices will ensure adequate and increased breeding success, and the successful raising of ostriches up to slaughter age (Cooper, 1999e), thus sustaining an export market.
The Zimbabwe Science News Volume 33(3) July - September 1999, pp. 73-78