SOUTH Africa-based horticulture and rabbit farmer Innes Ncube says she plans to set up a thriving rabbitry in Zimbabwe on the back of the recent surge in demand for rabbit meat in the country.
The Krugersdorp farmer said she would soon be transferring some of her breeding stock from South Africa to Zimbabwe to a farm in Mapane, Matabeleland North.
“In South Africa, we have 50 does and 20 bucks as our breeding stock. It is from this pool where we also aim to have a project in Zimbabwe. We hope to grow it to the same level or even bigger whilst maintaining best international practices,” she said.
Ncube said the Zimbabwean market was showing so much potential hence her desire to invest in rabbitry in the country.
“My husband and I have a farm here in South Africa. We started rabbit farming last year with the vision of being one of the top suppliers of rabbit meat and the business has been thriving. Our desire is to start rabbitry in Zimbabwe since there is a growing market,” she said.
“I want to create a niche market for rabbit meat and establish myself as one of the biggest producers in the Matabeleland region.”
Ncube said she intended on using only pure breeds so that she maximises on their food conversion ratio and ensure that productivity levels are high.
She said she is inspired by the Zimbabwe Commercial Rabbit Breeders Association (Zicorba), which is marketing rabbit meat and mentoring farmers.
Meanwhile, the construction of Zimbabwe’s first rabbit meat distribution hub is nearing completion in Harare’s Waterfalls suburb, setting the stage for a sustained growth of cuniculture production in the country.
This follows hot on the heels of the recent opening in Harare of Zimbabwe’s first rabbit abattoir early this year.
The abattoir, which has a capacity to slaughter upwards of 3 500 rabbits per single eight-hour shift, is one of the biggest in Africa.
The country’s second rabbit abattoir is planned for Bulawayo next year, which would be followed by the launch of satellite abattoirs in major centres across the country.