Ostrich meat may seem foreign to American taste buds, but it’s a common delicacy in parts of Africa, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Now, Pakistan is trying to break into the market — but the industry is experiencing setbacks just as it was taking off, leaving a small group of farmers to keep it alive.
In 2016, the Pakistani government began a project to kick-start the ostrich industry there, offering subsidies to ostrich farmers. Soon, the number of ostrich farms in the country rose from about 60 to 400. Some observers called the industry a “gold mine.”
But in 2018, the subsidy program expired when the government declined to renew it.
Many of those farmers haven’t been able to pay off their initial investments.
“This business is more profitable than other livestock, but the farmer needs a lot of patience,” Raja Tahir Latif, an ostrich farmer who consulted on the government program, said.