World Ostrich Production Statistics

Newsletter No. 61 - Item 3

Newsletter No. 19 included a table summarising production from 1993, the last year before deregulation of the industry in South Africa to 2004, when it was becoming clear that the industry in South Africa was moving into decline. Some figures have subsequently been updated as the 2004 figures were estimates and reflected now in Table 1.


Table 1 - World Ostrich Production Figures

The figures illustrate that South Africa is returning to the 1993 levels with no stability in the other regions and Namibia and Israel no longer in production. Namibia’s facilities were built to support 95,000 slaughter birds, but never achieved greater than 30,000. Figure 1 demonstrates not only the variability from year to year in total production, but also the variability of each area from year to year. It illustrates the lack of consistency. It is important to note that Brazil reports 100,000 birds slaughtered in 2007, but this was not driven by a huge increase in demand, but rather most farmers leaving the industry, with slaughter including many breeder birds.

Ostrich Meat Tonnage

Figure 1:  Comparative Ostrich Meat Tonnage by Country (table 1)

Further points to note in Figure 1:

The peak is 14,000 tonnes of meat total global production per annum. To put this volume into perspective:

  • Production spread between many countries
  • Within each country, including South Africa, there are a number of different plants slaughtering the birds
  • A pig slaughter plant very close to where I live slaughters 10,000 pigs/day

10,000 pigs/day is equivalent to:

  • 700 tonnes meat per day (output from a 500 sow unit)
  • 20 days slaughter for this single plant is total annual tonnage of Global Ostrich slaughter in 2002
  • Less than 10 days at current Ostrich production levels

Costs at every stage – production, processing, distribution and marketing – are high when operating in low volume. It is not possible to achieve economies of scale on these low production figures. To achieve genetic improvement programs requires high volume. It requires high volume for support services to invest and develop other technical services required to support an industry.


Note 1
Asia: All Asian countries, including China, Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia
Australasia: Australia and New Zealand
Bophuthatswana: The independent homeland of South Africa that became part of South Africa once more with the New South Africa
Europe: For full list see:
Middle East: Includes the whole region.
Namibia: Namibia only
North America: Canada, USA, Mexico and all countries North of the Panama Canal.
South Africa: South Africa only
Southern Africa: Zimbabwe and Botswana
South America: All countries South of the Panama Canal.
Other: Any not included in the above

Note 2:
Figures as published in "The Report on the Effects of Deregulation of the South African Ostrich Industry" -  Page 27

Note 3:
"The Global Industry, Current Situation" - Fiona Benson. Presented to the World Congress, Portugal, 1999 -

Note 4:
Figures as published in "The Report on the Effects of Deregulation of the South African Ostrich Industry" - Page 37

Note 5:
Estimates from current information.
The only way to achieve more accurate information is for members to set up systems in their own countries to be able to report meaningful results.


  1. […] quantify this in numbers of slaughter Ostrich, in 2004, South Africa slaughtered 208,000 ostrich.  At 25kgs meat per bird, average South African meat yield, this relates to 5,200 tonnes […]

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