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Rabbit farming as a way of creating employment in Kenya


Date Posted: 3/2/2012 5:54:51 AM

Posted By: SimonMburu  Membership Level: Silver  Total Points: 838

For many decades now, rabbit keeping has just been a hobby for children and young adults in the rural areas of Kenya. The animals are just kept for domestic meat and to keep the children busy during school holidays. It was not until recently that people could realize that there was a potential good income in rabbit farming as long as someone is serious with the business.

The market for rabbit meat is growing at a breath-taking rate, as it was just last year when a local supermarket chain (Nakumatt) was looking for a constant supplier of the meat but unfortunately there was non. A few years ago when the market was almost non-existing, families would find the meat expensive compared to red meat, but nowadays a kilogram of rabbit meat costs between Ksh.250 and 350 which is quite affordable. This is an indication that the market is growing and within a few years time it will be a contributor to the Gross Domestic Production. The meat is also recomended by health practitioners since it has low levels of chorestrol. Apart from meat, the rabbit has other economical advantages like the production of fur or wool which can be sold as an export commodity. Products made from chinchilla fur are quite expensive implying that the raw material is also expensive.

The cost of having a rabbit farm is very low since one does not need too much resources, example, the hutch for the rabbits will need a very small piece of land, plus some local building materials and you are ready to go. Before you decide to venture into the project you must decide the objective of the farming, it it meat or fur? Once you have choosen your part you will need to select the right breed of rabbit, for

example, Altex rabbit (a breed of Flemish Giant Carfornia and Argentede Champane) is for meat only and an adult weighs between 4.5 to 9 kilograms. The rex family (castor rex and chinchilla rex) are kept for fur only.

The production of rabbits will never have a pick season and a low season because the animal has a gestation period of 28 days and the doe will have 5-10 young ones which will be mature enough between a period of 3-6 months. The cost of one adult rabbit that weighs about 6 kilograms is Ksh.3000 . Challenges facing the farming are rabbit diseases like myxomatosis and skin problems which can be avoided by keeping the hutch well ventilated with heating and cooling facilities, and use of vaccines to prevent these diseases.

There is a successful project in Kenya called The Ndekero Challenge which won an award of the Grand Prize Winning Idea of 2009 Africa Rural Connect Competition. The project targets school children and villagers, by creating employment opportunities for them and customers, with a big goal of furnishing the market. The project has about 100 rabbits in a small piece of land. Development of such small and medium projects will lead towards the realization of the vision 2030.

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