The Sunday News
THE Zimbabwe Commercial Rabbit Breeders Association (Zicorba) has engaged top experts to help it produce own rabbit pellets to ward off the sharp rise in the cost of stockfeed and halt the erosion on farmers’ profit margins.
In a statement, Zicorba president Mr Regis Nyamakanga said the pellet-making project, which will be launched this month and implemented in phases, is expected to slash the cost of rabbit feed by about 50 percent.
“We have assembled a team of experts to work with us in producing our own feed. The process will entail training of our own people on feed formulation and mixing, engaging farmers to produce essential ingredients for the production of rabbit pellets and commissioning of the pellet making plant,” he said.
A medium-scale pellet-making machine has already been procured, he said adding that more such machines would be imported soon and commissioned in different parts of the country such as Bulawayo and other parts of Matabeleland region to ensure farmers have easy access to the Zicorba pellets.
Mr Nyamakanga said Zicorba pellets are expected to hit the market in the next six to 12 months.
“The prices of rabbit pellets have shot up in recent months and the situation is threatening to drive many farmers out of business.
“As a representative body of rabbit farmers, we could not allow this to go unchecked. We had to take action,” he said.
Feed account for about 70 percent of cost of rabbit production.
Other input costs include rabbit cages, medicines, breeding stock and labour, the prices of which have also been on a rise for several months making rabbit production less competitive compared to other types of livestock.
“In view of the sharp rise in our cost of production, Zicorba had to devise ways to temporarily manage the situation.
“This included negotiating for price discounts with leading stockfeed companies such as Agrifoods, Capital Foods, National Foods and Hyperfeed.
“We are also about to finalise a deal with GAIN, a leading distributor of stockfeed, for our farmers to access rabbit pellets at a discount from their 166 branches dotted across the country.
“While these measures bring relief to our farmers, we are acutely aware that this is not sustainable.
“We need a lasting solution to the persistent increases in the cost of rabbit feed hence the plan to produce our own rabbit pellets,” the Zicorba boss said.
Mr Nyamakanga said by producing own feed, Zicorba was aiming at lowering the cost of production by about 30 to 50 percent and in turn enable rabbit meat to compete effectively with other types of meat such as pork, fish, chicken and beef.
Since its formation in July 2020, the rabbit breeders association has been promoting the production of rabbits to improve the livelihoods of about 1,8 million households in Zimbabwe, create employment for youth and women and contribute to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“There are immense benefits associated with eating rabbit meat. More than 1 million tonnes of rabbit meat are consumed worldwide per year, accounting for about US$7,5 billion in revenue,” he said