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Ostrich meat steadily gaining in popularity

Butwal, December 13, 2016: Started eight years ago in Gangoliya, Rupandehi, with 1,500 eggs imported from Australia, Ostrich Nepal farm has now grown to a Rs2 billion industry, thanks to the steady demand from exotic meat lovers.

After returning from Australia, CP Sharma started the farm with an initial investment of Rs300 million. Sharma had hard time convincing his family to rear the ostrich. However, he eventually succeeded to do that and started the business.

Tilak Raj Kadel of Chitwan joined the venture with a 10 percent stake in the farm. But he pulled out of the partnership after the farm required additional investment. Sharma then decided to manage the farm alone.

Ostrich Nepal has since opened two more farms–at Suryapura in Rupandehi and in Dang. These farms holds 8,000 birds in total.

While the cost of importing ostrich chicks was high, Sharma explained. “However, after our farm started to produce chicks, it has become a cost-effective and low-risk business.”

The farms, which produce 300kg of meat daily, now have a total of 137 people on their payrolls. Of the total daily meat production, 100kg is consumed in the district, while the rest is supplied to major cities, including Kathmandu, Pokhara, Nepalgunj, Biratnagar and Dhangadhi.

All the major super markets, including Bhat Bhateni, sell the ostrich meat. An adult ostrich weighs up to 250kg and stands 8 feet tall. The bird has an average life span of 80 years.

Sharma said the demand of ostrich meat has not only been growing during feast and festivals but ordinary people are also consuming it. Ostrich, a red meat, is lower in calories, cholesterol and fat than skinless chicken while remaining high in iron and protein. In the international market, the meat costs around Rs6,500 per kg, but the company is selling the meat at Rs890 per kg, while offering the bone-less meat at Rs1,490 per kg.

By Amrita Anmol