Earlier today, Dr Ivan Meyer Western Cape Minister Meyer of Agriculture opened the 17th Annual Ostrich Auction at Western Cape Department of Agriculture’s Ostrich Research Farm in Oudtshoorn.
The seventy-seven ostriches sold fetched an average price of R4500 each, with the highest price being R7250.
The Department annually sells progeny from the research flock to the industry to enable the sector to benefit directly from its genetic improvement.
Minister Meyer: “Lifelong learning, continuous professional development, knowledge production and innovation are central to building the capabilities of the agricultural sector. For this reason, structured training and education are one of my key priorities.”
Meyer continues: “The Western Cape is the proud owner of the only ostrich research facility in the world. Dating back to the 1970s, the Western Cape Department of Agriculture has supported the ostrich industry through research into all aspects of ostrich production.”
Dr Ilse Trautmann, Chief Director of Research and Technology Development at the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, highlights the partnership between the Department and the ostrich industry.
Trautmann: “A prestige breeding flock was established from widely selected breeding material donated by ostrich farmers. The agreement with the industry was that the breeding flock was to be maintained and improved to provide the industry with improved breeding material. And the 17th ostrich auction is testimony to the Departments’ commitment to the industry”.
Despite less favourable market conditions, avian influenza and a severe, multi-year drought, a group of dedicated ostrich farmers continue to farm with ostriches.
Meyer: “South Africa’s Ostrich Industry is world-renowned. Market access for our products is therefore another key ministerial priority. We must continue to ensure that South Africa remains the top ostrich producing country that provides quality ostrich meat, leather, and feathers to the world. By doing so, we support the economy and jobs in the Western Cape”.
Since the start of the annual production auctions in 2004, more than 2500 breeder birds have been sold to the ostrich industry.