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How teacher makes a killing from rabbit farming business

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Rearing rabbit is one of the least practised agricultural activities in Kenya. In fact, for a long time, it has been seen as a hobby for boys thus the reason why it continues to be shunned to date. However, one man in Thika is smiling all the way to the bank thanks to this least practised farming activity that only a handful of Kenyans have embraced.

Meet Peter Macharia, the principal of Christian Industrial Training College, who despite his busy administrative duties, is an astute rabbit farmer. Macharia says rabbit rearing is one of the easiest farming methods since it does not require much time, fodder, space and a lot of capital to venture in.

Currently, he has more than 300 rabbits, which he says is the lowest number he has ever reared having sold more than a 100 rabbits recently. He is planning to expand his rabbit rearing venture to accommodate more than 1,000 rabbits next year to maximise on profits. “Due to the preference of white meat among Kenyans in the recent days, rabbit meat is on high demand and there is no enough supply. It is a market people should take advantage of,” says Macharia.

The Masters of Arts in Political Science graduate from University of Nairobi says he started rabbit rearing in 2008 after realising a rise in the demand for white meat. He started with 10 rabbits with the number steadily raising to the current 300 which he says are like a drop in the ocean compared to the demand. “Due to increase of diseases associated with red meat, a lot of consumers nowadays prefer white meat and more so rabbit meat with the demand surpassing the supply,” he says. With each of his rabbit weighing between 5 to 7 kilograms, Macharia is making good money with a Kilo of rabbit meat costing Sh500 and above. He says he sells a minimum of 10 rabbits per week at Sh35,000 totaling Sh140,000 a month.

He is planning to expand his rabbit rearing venture to accommodate more than 1,000 rabbits next year to maximise on profits. “Due to the preference of white meat among Kenyans in the recent days, rabbit meat is on high demand and there is no enough supply. It is a market people should take advantage of,” says Macharia. The Masters of Arts in Political Science graduate from University of Nairobi says he started rabbit rearing in 2008 after realising a rise in the demand for white meat. He started with 10 rabbits with the number steadily raising to the current 300 which he says are like a drop in the ocean compared to the demand.

“Due to increase of diseases associated with red meat, a lot of consumers nowadays prefer white meat and more so rabbit meat with the demand surpassing the supply,” he says. With each of his rabbit weighing between 5 to 7 kilograms, Macharia is making good money with a Kilo of rabbit meat costing Sh500 and above. He says he sells a minimum of 10 rabbits per week at Sh35,000 totaling Sh140,000 a month.

The man who vied for the Gatundu North parliamentary seat in 2013 but lost is rearing five rabbit breeds: New Zealand white, California white, French Earlope, Flemish Giant and Angola. Machaira says French Earlope are big in size and heavier, which makes them fetch more money in the market.

 

Macharia is also the Rabbit Association of Kenya national coordinator where he says they have made great strides in making rabbit rearing a choice for Kenyans. Through the association, he says they educate farmers on rabbit rearing practices and introduces new rabbit breeds. He says the association has also been instrumental in lobbying for construction of the Sh10 million rabbit slaughter house which is nearing completion in Thika town. Once complete, the slaughterhouse will have the capacity of slaughtering 2,000 rabbits a day which he says will be instrumental in enhancing rabbit rearing.

“As an association, we also recently started on rabbit meat value addition whereby we are processing sausages, samosas and meat loaves which we are currently selling in Thika, Juja and Ruiru town with plans to venture to other towns, “Macharia told the smart harvest. Mr Macharia outlines the greatest challenge facing rabbit rearing is lack of market for the rabbit skin which he say normally goes to waste. He told Smart Harvest rabbit skin has a high price than meat due to its quality and the value it adds to other products like bags and clothes.

The association is buying one skin at Sh100 from the farmers. However, since there is no ready market for the skin in the country due to lack of tanneries, the skin business is low. They are exploring foreign markets in Europe and Asia. Rabbit urine is normally sprayed on kales and other vegetables in his garden to control pests. He says the urine may also soon become a lucrative business once a fertilizer manufacturing factory being built in Kawangare is complete by early next year.

He also uses the manure got from the rabbit sheds in his farm where he plants vegetables key among them kales, cabbages, and onions among others that are used by his family. Rabbit manure is popularly known for its high nitrogen content. As a result of rabbit rearing, Macharia says he has bought a car and uses the rest to pay school fees for his children.

The farmer is calling on the many jobless youth to embrace rabbit rearing saying it does not need a lot of capital and space to start.

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