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Mombasa farmer builds rabbit business on discounts

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A farmer from Mombasa County is cashing on the rising demand for rabbit meat from high-end hotels at the coast by selling his animals at a discount to the market price, making faster sales that he says are boosting his profits despite the lower prices.

Justin Magiri said delayed selling of the animals added no significant value other than eating into the profit.

“Mature rabbits do not add value to the farmer by overstaying. Selling them after attaining four or five kilos gives a good return of investment. High prices make buyers look for alternatives or buy fewer rabbits,” he said.

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With currently 380 rabbits, his main buyers are Bamburi’s Naivas Supermarket and high-end hotels on Mombasa’s North Coast.

His main input cost is for the Unga Feeds pellets he feeds his rabbits with, preferring them to traditional twig feeds because of the balanced nutrient, although he occasionally feeds his rabbits on twigs for supplementation.

But whereas farmers from Machakos, Kiambu and Kisii counties, who have spoken to Farmbiz Africa, sell one kilo of rabbit meat at Sh1,000, and Magiri’s competitors from Mombasa and Taita-Taveta counties-his home- do the same, Magiri is selling the meat for Sh700 per kilo.

The rabbit meat is used in making sausages by most of the supermarkets he sells to, while hotels tend to roast it (nyama choma) or boil it in sauces.

Magiri also sells pregnant rabbits at Sh5,000. The gestation period for rabbits is 28-30 days.

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Rabbits mature after about five months, while giant breeds may go up to seven months, with Magiri selling 40 to 50 rabbits a month.

It costs Magiri Sh450 to raise each bunny (young rabbit) to maturity, when each four kilo animal earns his Sh2,800. This gives him about Sh580 of profit per kilo, which he argues is more beneficial than waiting another three or four months more to get Sh250 a kilo extra.

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The business gain Magiri highlights is sometimes called the churn rate, which looks at how many times a business makes a sale each year, compared with the money locked up in production.

 Magiri’s faster selling means that he is selling rabbits after about six months, compared to sales after nine months by his competitors. Thus, he makes 50 per cent more sales in the same period of time, but only discounts his price by 30 per cent – he ends up making more.

Magiri can be reached on +254726781242

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