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Nation in Conversation looks at the Ostrich Industry

  • 20 February 2017
  • 1895
  •  Nation in Conversation
  •  press-release

The show kicks off with a look at the beauty and tourist attractions of the Klein Karoo and Oudtshoorn in particular. Piet Kleyn, CEO of the Ostrich Business Chamber explains just how important the world’s largest living bird is to the economy of the area. Did you know that a large male ostrich can reach up to 2.8m (9.2ft) and weigh in at over 156kgs? And that the products used for consumption and tourism include almost every part of the bird including eggs, skin, meat and feathers.

Laubscher Coetzee, owner of Klipheuwel ostrich farm, shares his passion for ostrich farming as well as his unique bond with the flightless birds and the challenges of the business. Laubscher says that one of the main risks to ostrich farming currently is avian or bird flu. Laubscher also places tremendous importance on the relationship between the farmer and his farm workers as a key to successful farming.

Fellow ostrich farmer Joey Potgieter of Welbedag farm is a fifth-generation farmer. He joins the show and explains that “ostriches are in our blood.”

Did you know that ostrich meat is classified as red meat? It is popular among healthy eaters due to its low cholesterol and fat content.

Show host Rozanne McKenzie engages with Landbouweekblad Editor in Chief, Chris Burgess, who once again shares his incredible knowledge on agriculture in general and in this particular case, the ostrich industry. He talks about how back in the day; the fashion of the day boosted the ostrich industry through the need for ostrich feathers. “The industry was actually brought to its knees back then when Henry Ford started making convertible cars and ladies could no longer wear their hats containing ostrich feathers,” says Chris. Chris also tells us what American cowboys and Brazilian samba dancers have in common with the ostrich.

Charl du Plessis, Managing Director of Klein Karoo International talks about the regulatory issues in the industry and how almost every little bit of the ostrich is put to use… even the stones in the bird’s stomach has value!

Co-host Theo Vorster (Business Day TV) and Mpumelelo Mkhabela (Soweto TV) talk to Nobri Booyzen, Project Manager for Exotic Leather SA, who explains that exotic leather is comprised of Nile Crocodile and Ostrich leather. She also sheds light on the industry and links between the ostrich industry and top fashion labels like Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton, to name a few.

If you’ve ever wondered just how big an impact this big bird has on the economy, don’t miss this episode.

Business Day TV:

Soweto TV:

Nation in Conversation is proudly sponsored by Monsanto, Nedbank and Senwes, in association with AFGRI, Hinterland and NWK.

Download the Nation in Conversation App from the app store and visit the website at for full details of the broadcast schedule.

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