Rundu-Apart from wanting to own a rabbit as a pet, some raise them for their meat which is a delicacy in many African cultures and a source of nutrition, health and safe to eat.
Johannes Muremi rears and breeds rabbits for their meat at business he plans to commercialise located some 40 km east of Rundu, along the gravel road.
Some people raise rabbits as pets and some like Muremi raise them for their meat.
He currently works as a Senior field officer for a German organisation, GIZ and he is based in Rundu.
“I started the project in May this year with few breeding cages and then I bought some breeding stock from one farmer from Gobabis and some in Windhoek and then I started breeding them, in a nutshell I started with a total breeding stock of 12 doe (females) and three bucks (males) and to date we have sold 73 rabbits already,” Muremi narrated.
According to Muremi the breeding of rabbits is very fast and easy, he calls it ‘a thank you business’ as it gives you returns in very short period as they have a gestation period of around 31 days. The female can give birth to between 12-13 kits.
“The main purpose why I’m keeping rabbits now is due to the economic situation and the demand for meat and protein is very high, so we need a faster way of producing meat for ourselves, not only for my family but also the nearby residents as well as the whole country,” Muremi said.
“Aside from raising them for meat production and I also breed them for educational purpose as you find various schools are also interested in the rabbit project for them to use in the education, teaching children especially in the agriculture subject,” he continued.
A lot of people wants to buy them as pets for their children but more wants their meat more of a reason Muremi initiated the project.
Muremi said another factor to take into consideration is that if you look into the wild most of the rabbits are getting depleted, that gives a sign already that a lot of people are hunting them illegally for meat and in that process they are getting extinct so that is why he needed to bring into the market rabbit meat without harming the environment.
“At the moment we are breeding 180 rabbits which is kept at Mashare and in two weeks he is expecting to get about a hundred (100) new-born rabbit kittens and will select our breeding stocks from there and the rest and mainly male we sell for meat,” he said.
At Mashare Muremi is farming with three types of rabbits, Chichila, New Zealand Red and the California white and he is busy crossing them to get better breeds as well as reduce the inbreeding.
“We are in communication with some lodges, restaurants in the region we engaged with and they want to add rabbit meat on their menu and we will supply them with the meat and in that way we are also going to breed more to meet the demands of clients,” he said.
According to Muremi he doesn’t inject any hormones or anything into his rabbits, they are just naturally organically produced and a lot of locals have come through to buy the rabbit meet, the demand is huge and if you want them as pets he advised you to get one type of sex because if you get a male and female they will reproduce every month and you will be overwhelmed with kittens.
“We give the rabbits clean drinking water every time, cabbages and hay grass, they don’t really get sick, anyone can keep them, they are easy,” he said.
Rabbit meat is a delicacy for native Kavango’s as well as most African cultures.
Caption: (Rabbits) Joseph Nambaru holding a New Zealand Red rabbit while project owner Johannes Muremi is holding a California White rabbit breed and Andreas Matamu is holding a Chichila breed. Some rabbits can be seen in cages on the left and right corners.