A project on raising ostriches has been carried out for nearly 10 years in the sunny and windy land of the central coastal province of Quang Binh and has brought big profits for the locals. It has proved to be a sound direction for economic development in the province.

In 2004, Hoang Thi Minh in Hai Trach commune, Bo Trach district started raising ostriches on a small scale. After attending a training course on essential farming skills, Minh invested over 20 million VND (about 1,000 USD) to build breeding facilities and bought breeding ostriches from an experimental centre in Hanoi's Ba Vi district.

Seeing her success in the business, many families in the province established farms which brought them a great income. Since then, ostrich raising has strongly developed and opened a sound direction for developing the province’s economy.

One of the largest ostrich raising farms in the province is owned by Hung Bien Seafood Company in Bao Ninh commune in Dong Hoi city. In 2008, the company started raising ostriches in an area of 500m2 and only after five years the company’s total area for the job was expanded to 2ha with hundreds of breeding and commercial ostriches. According to Nguyen Van Dung, Director of Hung Bien Seafood Company, it is not difficult to raise ostriches because this bird is able to adapt to the climate and terrain in Quang Binh.

To develop the ostrich business, Hung Bien Seafood Company established a ostrich breeding facility, including an administrative area, a system of facilities for brooding eggs equipped with modern incubators, raising chicks, a store of feed and a slaughter house.

In the area for raising chicks, the company invested a system of lights to ensure suitable temperatures and always pays much attention to the feed and the regimen. Therefore, chicks develop well and only after 12 months each ostrich weighs about 120-150kg. A male mature ostrich is 2.1-2.75m tall and weighs 120kg-150kg while a female, 1.75-1.9m and 90-110kg and can lay about 40-50 eggs/year. Each year, Hung Bien Seafood Company earns about 700 million VND from commercial ostriches and 800 million VND from breeding ones.

According to statistics of the Agricultural and Fishing Promotion Centre in Quang Binh Province, the province sells about 500 ostriches each year. Ostrich meat is good for human health so it has now become a favourite in the market. A kilo of ostrich meat is priced at about 200,000-220,000 VND. Ostrich skin and feathers and egg shells can be made into valuable products, such as shoes, wallets, bags, jackets, and fine art articles.

Good outcomes from pilot farms have encouraged locals to expand the ostrich raising farms and invest in breeding technology to develop the flock to meet the demand in the domestic market and export to foreign countries in a near future.-VNA