By Heather Hintze
ANDHRA PRADESH, India — Oregon is known for its sustainable practices, and one Eugene non-profit organization is taking the concept halfway across the world.
India Partners has helped start a cutting edge sustainable project in Koyyalagudem — an emu farm — with the hope of bringing self sufficiency to the community.
Nearly 100 six-month-old emus roam the one-acre farm in southeast India.
Within the next year they’ll grow to be up to six feet tall.
The farm is an up-and-coming project started by Living Sacrifice Ministries.
“Next year we’re going to build an incubator so after laying eggs we are going to hatch them and sell the chicks and also a few birds we will be selling for slaughtering,” said Prema Eliezer, India Partners.
The birds that go for slaughtering will be sold for between 15,000-20,000 rupees a piece. That’s about $400.
Emu eggs and chicks will sell for $150.
Other byproducts include emu oil and bags made from the skin.
“This is a good business idea to have emu farming that the profits of that would help them continue their charitable work in this district of Andrha Pradesh in India,” said Daniel Victor, India Partners.
The profits will go to Living Sacrifice Ministries, which right now is home to nearly 30 orphans.
Another sustainable project that benefits kids at another India Partners orphanage is the Krupa Fishery.
This project started more than 10 years ago and raises money for Orphan Faith Home.
Staff harvest two different types of fish locally called Fungus and Rupchin.
Every nine months they are sold at markets for 35 rupees a kilo, or less than 50 cents a pound.
Back on the emu farm, the birds play with visitors and peck at anything they can.
“Yeah, I like them. As soon as I came they all came around me, they just play with me,” Eliezer said.
Once the birds mature they’ll be able to produce 10 to 20 eggs a year, which will allow the farm to expand even more.
Staff hope to eventually have five acres of land, which would accommodate up to 500 birds.
“I hope there is a good future for emu birds and emu farms. And there is a lot of demand and there is hope that’s it’s a good income-generating project,” Eliezer said.
Emu farming is a very new industry to India. The first processing plant in the country will open in December.