The local rabbit industry is poised for growth as it eyes new markets on the continent and China, an umbrella association has said.
The Zimbabwe Commercial Rabbit Breeders Association (ZICORBA) which celebrated two years on Saturday said demand for rabbit meat is on the increase.
“There is potential for export meat into other African countries and China which has demand in excess of 400,000 tonnes per year. We received numerous inquiries from Botswana, Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo for us to supply them with rabbit meat,” said ZICORBA president Regis Nyamakanga.
He said the industry will generate over US$3m from domestic sales in the next 5 years, driven by access to affordable breeding stocks which Raymeg has been supplying on the market, and availability of funding. Domestic sales currently stand at US$250,000.
Nyamakanga said a number of banks have knocked on ZICORBA to provide funding but have been kept at bay due to the “prohibitive interest rates” that are currently prevailing.
He said ZICORBA had forged strategic alliances with rabbit associations in Kenya, Zambia, South Africa, Mozambique, Eswatini, Nigeria and Botswana.
“We aim to be among the top 3 rabbit producers in Africa in the next 5 years,” Nyamakanga said, adding that South Africa has approached the association as it wants to sell three rabbit abattoirs that are struggling to stay afloat.
He said some farmers in South Africa are selling meat to Zimbabwe through Raymeg, Zimbabwe’s sole rabbit abattoir.
“South Africans are looking for opportunities in Zimbabwe. Some farmers have approached us wanting to become members of ZICORBA. Gone are the days when we used to look down south for big brother. Big brother is up north,” Nyamakanga said.