In Riyadh today a seminar was inaugurated on the possibilities of ostrich breeding in the Kingdom, taking into account the experience of South Africa in such farms. The seminar is being organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Water in collaboration with the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Speaking at the inaugural session, the Chamber's Chairman Abdelrahman Al-Jeraisi said that investment in ostrich farming will contribute positively to the development of animal resources, pointing out that the global trend is for diversification of food sources. The National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development (NCWCD) has for some time been developing herds of red ostrich, and there are currently a number of investment projects in the field of ostrich breeding.
Minister of Agriculture and Water Dr. Abdullah Ibn Abdulaziz Ibn Mu'ammar remarked that animal resources constitute a pillar of the national economy due to their significant role in ensuring food security, and expressed the Ministry's concern for diversification of sources of animal protein. Ostrich meat is of high quality. In addition, ostriches can provide leather, feathers, and eggs. Dr. Mu'ammar reported that the Kingdom started ostrich breeding in 1996, with the Ministry of Agriculture and Water approving licenses for the establishment of projects in Riyadh, Al-Kharj, Hail and Qassim, with a productive capacity of about 50,000 ostriches per year. Arrangements are underway to issue licenses for similar projects, and to provide them with the required loans.
Meanwhile, Dr. Mu'ammar met yesterday with the visiting South African Deputy Minister of Agriculture and discussed matters of common interest, most important of which were veterinary diagnostics, botanical diseases, and the production of equatorial fruits. They also discussed aspects of cooperation in the area of ostrich breeding; and the exchange of expertise in genetic engineering, water resources, fisheries, training, post-graduate studies, and agricultural research.