UTA Explores New Product: Rabbit FarmingCasidra
When one thinks of a rabbit, you think of a ‘bunny’. Instead, this should be viewed as a source of high protein and a niche market product that offers opportunities to new farmers who have limited access to land under intensive farming conditions.
Previous attempts in South Africa at producing rabbit meat as a cheap source of protein have failed due to the costs involved in production. In Europe, rabbit meat is sought after and an everyday meat in most homes. The export market is available, but needs high volumes to be able to supply the demand.
Casidra’s Unit for Technical Assistance (UTA) was involved with the development of a production and financial model to be offered to new rabbit farmers. This model provides sufficient protection, mentorship, marketing opportunities, breeding stock and resources to support outgrowers.
Rabbit farming in South Africa, particularly in the Western Cape, is still scattered and viewed as niche market farming and not done on an intensive scale. The non-availability of production and market information on rabbits makes it difficult for the current rabbit farmer.
Casidra’s Chief Executive Officer, Michael Brinkhuis, accompanied by the Chief Operations Officer, Kobus Oosthuizen, and the UTA Senior Project Manager, Belvin Namoobe, had an opportunity to visit the Coniglio Rabbit Farm in Kraaifontein with the objective to explore rabbit farming operations.
Coniglio Farm has developed a local and export market as well as production techniques. The farm is creating an opportunities for other outgrowers to supply their rising market demand. Coniglio is the only off-taker in the Western Cape Province and offer assistance to start-up rabbit farmers with cages, feed, training and windows tablet software to run their business effectively. They have the capacity to off-take all rabbit meat within the province.
Rabbit meat has been placed in the same category as chicken meat (poultry) and has been dubbed as the most nutritional meat known to man.
This emanates from the following facts about rabbit meat:
$1· It has the highest protein content of all meat. Protein is important for healthy cellular processes and functions that in turn support tissue development, repair and maintenance;
$1· It has the lowest fat content compared to other meat. 63% Of rabbit meat fat is unsaturated fat, which is regarded as the good fat; and
$1· It is low in calories compared to all similar white meat, i.e. content per gram.
However, according to Namoobe, “rabbit meat is more expensive when compared to chicken meat. For it to penetrate the general populace as a chicken substitute, the going price will have to be competitive and comparative with that of chicken”.
A detailed report about rabbit farming can be accessed on Casidra’s website and is also available at our offices.