Bring more rabbits and take advantage of great market - RABAK appeals to farmers

Godfrey Gitu Njoroge, a rabbit farmer for the last 10 years in Kiganjo estate Thika

Rabbit farmers have blamed logistical challenges and the lack of enough public awareness on rabbit rearing to the low intake and production.

While speaking to the press on Wednesday, Rabbit Breeders Association of Kenya (RABAK) Chairperson Peter Waiganjo noted that even though the demand for rabbit meat was so high, both in the local market and internationally, commercial rabbit farming in Kenya for meat production was yet to be taken seriously with only a few farmers currently engaging in this venture.

He said that there was need for increased awareness if at all this business was to make a positive impact on the lives of the majority of subsistence rural and peri-urban population. Waiganjo lamented that even though there existed a very big demand for rabbit meat, the supply was still not adequate due to so many logistical challenges. 

"Currently, the Thika abattoir is the only public rabbit slaughterhouse in the country. This has given us some big challenge for most of the rabbit farmers are scattered across the country and it becomes so uneconomical for a farmer in Eldoret or Nyeri for instance to travel all the way to Thika to slaughter 20 or so rabbits. This forces them to sell them through the traditional way and thus lose out on the high-end market," he explained.

He suggested that the all government departments involved in agriculture to come up with small abattoirs across the country or refrigerated vehicles to help farmers take advantage of this very lucrative venture.

Godfrey Gitu Njoroge who has been rearing rabbits for the last 10 years at his quarter of an acre piece of land in Kiganjo estate Thika encouraged jobless youth to venture into this business which he said was very viable and demanded very little input.

"I do not need to stay at the farm for the whole day. Rabbits rearing has allowed me to do other work as rabbits do not need too much attention. All you need is hay, some pellets and enough water," explained Gitu.

(Related Story: Rabbit farming, an unexploited ‘Goldmine’ that is greatly overlooked.)

He added that female rabbits normally bore about 2-10 babies, but could have as many as 16 with each litter. Considering that one rabbit could litter 5 times in a year, Gitu said that this was a sure way to increase one's earnings in a very short time.

Nutritionists say that rabbit meat offers the best source of protein and is healthier than most alternatives like beef, pork, turkey and even chicken. It also provides calcium, vitamins, energy and is characterized by a less amount of cholesterol, sodium, and fat unlike other types of meat.

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