It's a first of its kind in Senegal, a ostrich farm. Over the past seven years, these rare birds have become the economic powerhouse of Mlomp, a village in Casamance, southern Senegal. And now the whole community depends on these ostriches. A profitable farming business.
"Nothing is discarded in the ostrich business. From the droppings, we make organic fertiliser, which is very rich. From 9 - 10 months, the ostriches start to drop feathers that we use to make feather-dusters. This is a market. When we slaughter them, we also get the skin and the meat, the fat, all that. These are expensive products, but profitable;" says Ousseynou Sambou, secretary general of the farm.
Lucrative products like oil is the flagship product of the farm shop. A kilo of meat costs 12 euros and a pair of chicks 381 euros while a litre of oil is sold here for 76 euros.
"Once, we slaughtered an ostrich that gave us 36 kilos of fat. And that 36 kilos gave us 28 litres. So 28 litres at 76 euro a litre,we sold to a fellow, who bought 26 litres which he paid 1900 in cash. And it was with this one ostrich that we managed to buy a brand new incubator. An incubator that we bought from the United States for 2400euro." further stressed Ousseynou Sambou.
According Abdoulaye, an employee, the farm currently has two incubation machines with capacities of 112 and 180 eggs respectively. A single female ostrich can lay between 40 and 60 eggs per year. But only about a third of the clutch reaches adulthood. Raising an ostrich is not easy.
"This is the first generation. They are not easy to raise. It's very expensive. They eat corn, dried fish, calcium. A ton lasts a week to two weeks. "
Launched in 2014 thanks to cooperation with Finland, this project aims to fight poverty and promote job creation in rural areas. It has already received a loan of 24 000 euros from Délégation Générale à l'Entreprenariat Rapide, an association that encourages enterpreneurship. This debt has not yet been paid because of Covid-19. But the biggest problem remains the conquest of the market.