Feature: Batswana entrepreneur profit from rabbit meat trade

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, April 29, 2021
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GABORONE, April 28 (Xinhua) -- As a local agricultural entrepreneur who trades in the rabbit meat industry, Tshwarelo Senthufhe said his business started as looking for pets for his son.

"To teach my son about responsibilities in 2015, I wanted to buy a fish but later decided to buy two small rabbits, a male and a female," Senthufhe said.

Eventually the rabbits reproduced and became ten. After a client offered to buy seven, he was left with two female and a male, that is when he decided to divert into full time rabbit breeding.

"I started with research to find out who were my competitors but at that time there was nobody doing rabbit meat processing and breeding stock and I saw that as an opportunity that one can venture into," the 36-year-old businessman told Xinhua in the capital Gaborone.

On realizing that rabbit breeding was new, Senthufhe started mass breeding of rabbits. Currently, he makes money by selling breeding stock for other farmers, rabbit meat, liver to individuals, restaurants, hotels and also provide mentorship on breeding rabbits, cages and manure.

The main advantage of rearing rabbits is that their offspring grow fast and reach breeding and market very quickly than other livestock.

"Rabbits produce faster and each pregnancy produces two to fourteen offspring, usually in a year a single female rabbit will breed up to four to five times, and it takes about 30 days for pregnant rabbit to produce offspring," he said.

Senthufhe's breeds include California white, Chinchilla, New Zealand white, New Zealand red and black, Dutch, among others. On average, he sells 1.4 kilogram of rabbit meat for 120 Pula (about 11 U.S. dollars) and a single unit of rabbit cage is 400 pula.

The farmer said after doing some research, he found out that rabbit meat is healthier than chicken, and it tastes better.

"I have reduced eating chickens and red meat since I tested rabbit meat," he said, adding that rabbit meat is considered white meat and they feed on hay and grass and some lefty greens and small number of pellets and farmers don't give them any medication.

In 2020, his business was badly affected by COVID-19 because of lockdowns and restrictions of movement, and he had to downsize and also cancel exhibitions and expo that were meant to teach people more about rabbits breeding. Currently, he has about 500 rabbits and will increase production to 1,000.

As an effort to expand the business, Senthufhe is planning to sell or process other end products that are obtained from rabbits such as manure, fur and urine.

"Apart from its meat, rabbit dung can be used as fertilizer and the urine can be used as fertilizer and pesticide," he said. Enditem

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