Emu farming has gained momentum in Vidharbha and may help farmers in the region as an additional source of monetary support.
"Emu belonged to Kiwi family of New Zealand. Australia is number one in this type of farming followed by American and European countries. In south-east Asian countries, China, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia are also into Emu farming," according to an expert Dr Shirish Gode.
Emu happens to be the second largest bird in the world and is an Australian version of Ostrich. It belongs to the ratite group and have high economic value for their meat, eggs, oil, skin and feathers.
Emu farming began in a small Emu farm in Kharanga (Gode) village in neighbouring Wardha district and it has spread its wings across Vidarbha.
It was launched in India around eight to ten years ago and Andhra Pradesh wrested initiative in the project.
The big-sized bird weighing about 40 kg and with a height of five to six feet require separate enclosure.
There are about 120 pairs of birds now in eight farms at Vidarbha. Gode himself owns 80 pairs.
Gode said in the year 2005, he had 40 pairs of birds and egg production started within a year. Emu's meat is sold at Rs 300 per kg and eggs are sold at Rs 600 per piece. Similarly, oil is extracted from its skin which is used as pain reliever.
Emu gives about 30 eggs in a year weighing about 600 grams each, Gode said. The meat of this bird is fat and cholestrol free, he said.
"Skin, meat, eggs and oil of these birds can fetch handsome revenue to farmers," Gode added.
After its first Emu farming in Wardha, seven more such farms have come up in Bhadravati, Gondia, Arvi among others.
Meanwhile, with a view to give a boost to Emu farming, the central government has included it in poultry farming which has prompted the nationalised banks to extend financial assistance and loan to interested parties.
Besides, Maharashtra government authorities, including diary development and fisheries department are also taking interest in Emu farming as a supplement to resources of distressed farmers in Vidarbha region which has witnessed a huge number of suicides.