Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cuba plans to expand ostrich farming

Cuba plans to expand ostrich farming
Xinhua | 2012-8-19 13:21:25
By Agencies

The Cuban government plans to expand ostrich farming across the country
to boost local economy and exports.

Ostrich is considered the latest livestock introduced into the island
country, with farms now existing in the provinces of Havana and Granma.
The Ministry of Agriculture is planning to establish six more farms in
other provinces, with the goal to supply the domestic and international
markets, the state news agency Prensa Latina reported.

The first flock of ostriches were imported to Cuba from Mexico by
CENPALAB (the National Center for Laboratory Animal Production) in 1997
as part of a program designed "to diversify the production of healthy
foods and create new export items."

The first commercial farm was established in 2007, when the experimental
farm La Esperanza, in the outskirts of Havana, received 36 ostriches
from the CENPALAB.

Compared to other cattle breeding, ostrich farming carries more economic
benefits since ostrich has high reproduction rate and commercial value.
Its skin can be used for clothes, footwear and fashion jewelry of high
quality. Its meat is highly nutritious, which is sold at high prices at
the international markets. Its egg has a protein power equivalent to
about 23 chicken eggs and the shells, an excellent source for calcium,
are widely used in crafts and decorations.

Oil obtained from the ostrich's abdominal fat is rich in essential fatty
acids (EFAs), which is good for human health and can be utilized by
cosmetic and perfume industry.

Raising ostriches for commercial purpose began in South Africa around
1863. Currently, ostrich farming is among the most profitable
agricultural projects, dubbed the "farms of the future."

Cuba had introduced other exotic species with remarkable success, such
as buffalos from Vietnam two decades ago.

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