BULAWAYO-BASED firm, Midesha (Pvt) Limited, has imported 50 pure rabbit breeds from South Africa as it seeks to boost production at its local rabbitry.
The company, which is one of the corporate members of the Zimbabwe Commercial Rabbit Breeders Association (ZICORBA), also has interests in farming, retail and medical services.
In its latest newsletter, ZICORBA quoted Midesha chief executive officer, Mr Helmut Ncube, as saying the pure breeds his company has imported, brings to 100 the number of breeding stock at their rabbitry project.
“With a breeding stock of about 100 rabbits, this places Midesha in good stead to becoming the biggest breeder and rabbit meat producer in the greater Matabeleland region, which incorporates Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South,” he said.
Mr Ncube said as a result of the beefing up of breeding stock, their rabbitry venture will be in the next six months producing between 350 and 500 rabbits for meat every month.
“Other farmers in the region (Matabeleland) are each looking at selling from 100 to 350 rabbits for slaughter every month,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s cuniculture sector, which in recent years has been dormant was undergoing massive transformation following the formation of ZICORBA in July last year with a view to promote growth and development of the rabbit industry.
Since its formation, ZICORBA has been rolling out various initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable development of the local cuniculture sector.
Such initiatives include breeding stock importation, capacity building programmes for farmers as well as strategic alliances the rabbit association has embarked on with different stakeholders in and outside Zimbabwe.
In July this year, a Harare-based firm, Raymeg Consultants Private Limited, which is also a corporate member for ZICORBA, completed the construction of Zimbabwe’s sole rabbit abattoir in Waterfalls, Harare to the tune of close to US$1 million.
The facility, which became operational in September has the capacity to slaughter between 2,5 tonnes and 3,5 tonnes rabbits in a single 8-hour shift. A similar slaughterhouse by Raymeg Consultants was planned for Bulawayo next year.
“As producers in the greater Matabeleland region, we have come together and agreed to ramp up production ahead of the establishment of a rabbit abattoir in Bulawayo in the next few months,” said Mr Ncube.
Investing in such facilities was in line with the Government’s Livestock Growth Plan, which is part of the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy launched by President Mnangagwa last year.
The Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy seeks to grow the livestock industry to US$1,9 billion by 2025.
The setting up of state-of-the-art rabbit abattoirs in Harare and Bulawayo as well as satellite structures across the country was informed by the envisaged uptake of rabbit meat in Zimbabwe and the need to penetrate export markets.
Of late, demand for rabbit meat locally has been rising with projections indicating that sales could reach 25 tonnes in the next few months.