A farmer living in the Herat province of Afghanistan is responsible for bringing in a brand new product to the country’s market by establishing the first Afghan ostrich farm.
Ahmadshah Sharifi opened a new chapter in Afghan poultry farming when he established the first ostrich farm in the country in his home province of Herat.
As Sharifi explained to Sputnik Afghanistan, he launched his enterprise using the $50,000 he earned by selling his own house and purchasing 120 ostrich eggs in Iran.
“We started this undertaking in order to help our country and our people. There are many types of livestock and poultry being raised in Afghanistan, but no one here tried raising ostriches before, so I decided to offer my countrymen a new product,” he said.
According to Sharifi, his farm currently has 50 ostriches, with each bird weighing about 100-120 kilos, and that he expects their numbers to swell by up to 100 or more during the next two years. Also, he pointed out that the climate in Afghanistan is more suited to raising ostriches than, for example, in Iran where he bought ostrich eggs for his enterprise.
The ostrich farmer also remarked that while currently there are only his family members working at the farm, he intends to expand his business in the near future and create new jobs for his fellow countrymen.
“There are currently 10 of us and we raise ostriches by ourselves. But I intend to expand my business and in the future I hope to create jobs for many of my currently unemployed countrymen,” Sharifi said, adding that he expects each lot of his farm to require from 50 to 100 farmhands.
The ostrich is a big bird that can live up to 50 years and lay up to 50 eggs, the farmer said.
“If you feed ostrich chicks properly then you can achieve an optimal growth rate. Ostrich chicks grow taller by 10 cm per day, and they get slaughtered when they’re 10 months old. These birds serve as a good alternative to cows and sheep because ostriches’ upkeep is relatively low and they can live in various climatic conditions,” Sharifi said.
He pointed out that there are currently no ostriches being raised in Central Asia (except for his farm of course) and therefore the region may become the most lucrative market for his enterprise.