Rabbit farmers in Kenya are set to find fortune as the demand for rabbit meat grows among five star hotels in Nairobi due to its nutritional values especially for individuals under medication such as high blood pressure and cancer patients among others.
Nutritionists assert that the meat is rich in protein at 20 per cent and less in fat content at four per cent. Just one kilogram of it contains 350 calories, which is rich in important vitamins such as vitamin b-12 vitamins in addition to niacin, iron, selenium, phosphorus, and a little sodium.
Moses Mutua, founder and owner of Rabbit Republic, a company that deals in rabbit farming and slaughtering supplies four tonnes of rabbit meat every month to various five-star hotels and selected retail stores in Nairobi and the demand is overwhelming.
“The country is in high demand of rabbit meat given most of the imports come from South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. We sell a kilo of rabbit meat at Sh1,200,” said Mutua.
However, when he started the venture in 2012 many people had not known the benefits of rabbit meat and keeping the animals was just a hobby among boys. He had to partner with government agencies to help in promoting the benefits of the meat.
“I also got involved in cooking shows on some of the television programs in Kenya and made advertisements to intensify the awareness campaigns. Today the efforts together with those of other farmers who picked up the venture have been fruitful,” he said.
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For Antony Ogal who started keeping rabbits within his farm at Dunga in Kisumu County after being introduced to the venture by a friend, he slowly increased his stock and contracted other farmers in the area to increase production.
This is because he had secured a tender from a buyer in Nairobi to supply 14 rabbits monthly and the demand kept on increasing up to 100 rabbits something which made him to look for interested farmers to train in keeping rabbits.
“My consumer had informed me that there were patients who needed white meat and that rabbit meat was the best. That is how I earned my first market,” he said.
Currently he has 12 farmers whom he is working with spread across the county.
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According to a 2012 research by Benson Mwangangi Mutisya For the University of Nairobi on Factors Influecing Adoption of Commercial Rabbit Production among Farmers in Nakuru, The main consumers of the rabbit products are majorly local households, local hotels and restaurants, and about 5 per cent are exported.