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Emu Farming in India - The Present and The Future

The Emu is an Australian flightless bird which can grow up to 5 Feet tall and can weigh about 50 Kg. The Emu bird can live for as long as 40 Years and can lays eggs for 20 years. The Aborigines (an Australian Tribe) have been hunting down the emu birds for their meat, oil, skin, leather, feathers and nails. The oil extracted from the bird's fat is said to have many medicinal properties. Emu oil has been used by the Australian Aborigines for years due to its pain relieving properties. Emu meat has very minute fat content and tastes as good as beef. It is highly recommended to heart patients and diabetics.

Emu in an Indian Farm

 The Emu farming business prospered when the emu birds were taken to USA and bred there. Ever since then the emu business has been growing rapidly. Although, Australia has currently banned the export of live emu and fertile eggs to other countries, it is the largest exporter of emu meat, emu oil and emu leather.

Emu Farming in India came into existence during the mid-1990 when 350 Pairs of emu birds were imported from USA to South India. Emu farming is now very well established in states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. It is estimated that there are about 2,500 emu farms all over India. This business is now rapidly spreading to the states of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Uttaranchal. Farmers are investing in the emu business and are setting up a lot of large hatcheries and breeding farms. As this business is new in the North Indian states, there are currently no emu meat and oil processing units. Presently emu farming is also being supported by various government organizations all over India which are providing farmers with lucrative subsidiaries and offers.

Many farmers are shifting to emu farming and are currently selling emu chicks and breeder pairs to other aspiring farmers. Apart from selling emu chicks, certain farms are extracting emu oil and processing emu meat for the domestic market. This area is still under development and it is very unlikely that the demand for emu meat is going to spread across the country. Emu oil has many medicinal properties but the oil processing units present do not qualify for export into the international market.

Due to the rapid growth of this business it is expected that this business will get saturated in the next 5-7 years. Although there is a very huge export market for emu meat, oil, leather and fertile eggs, it is very difficult for the Indian emu farmers to meet their stringent quality control regulations.  This is mainly due to the lack of modern slaughtering houses and oil extraction units. The lack of consultants with proper technical skills is also a major problem due to which the farmers are unable to set-up proper emu meat and oil processing units. Emu farmers in India still have a few years to improve their facilities and farms so as to meet the requirements of the international market. This will also prove to be very expensive due to the sophisticated machinery that is required to maintain such facilities.

Thus, the only way for emu farming to survive in India is to rely on the international export markets. This is a very difficult task to accomplish, and can only be achieved with the help of skilled technical consultants who have a thorough knowledge of the international market rules and regulations related to emu products. It is the right time for emu farms in India to improve and stand up to the global expectations and make a name for themselves in the international market.

About the Author

The article is written by a biotechnologist from the UK. The author has been researching on emu birds for the last few years and has a good knowledge of the latest emu breeding tools and techniques. The author is currently present in India and is providing consultancy services to emu farms all over the country. 

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Please note that this is the opinion of the author and is Not Certified by ICAR or any of its authorised agents.