Iran: world’s second ostrich meat producer

There are nearly 120,000 ostriches farmed in Iran according to the Ministry of Agriculture. With annual production of 3000 tones, Iran ranks world’s second largest ostrich meat producer after South Africa.

“Since we are facing shortage of othe kind of meat, ostrich meat has lots of advantages for the country [to balance the market]”, said Vice President of livestock department of the Agricultural Ministry, Morteza Rezaei.

Ostrich meat is considered as red meat and is iron-rich. Ostrich is a native bird to Africa and requires warm climate to be farmed. Such climate can easily be found in Iran and currently twelve provinces are farming ostriches. Semnan, Isfahan and Alborz provinces are the top three producers of ostrich meat in Iran.

“Each Iranian egg-laying ostrich can reproduce 40 chicks in a year which is an exceptional rate”, adds Mr Rezaei, during a visit to Moein Ostrich Farm in Qarchak county, next to Tehran.

FAO defines ostrich farms as “farms of the future”, as they are considered to be among the most profitable agricultural projects. Ostrich products are not limited to meat; their feather, skin and fat are used for several other products such as most luxurious leathers to variety of makeup and skincare products.  

All Iranian provinces, except those in north, have the potential to start ostrich farming. Iran’s plan for 2020 is to increase its ostrich reproduction to 200,000 birds per year. According to Bloomberg, South Africa slaughtered about 230,000 ostriches per year. While South Africa dominates the European market, Iran is waiting for EU permissions to start exporting ostrich meat not before the end of 2019.

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