Sat, 23 Jan 2021

Despite having a lucrative career in Information Technology, Gift Jambaya from Harare decided to quit his job so that he can venture into full time rabbit breeding.

by Tafara Mugwara

HARARE, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Despite having a lucrative career in Information Technology, Gift Jambaya from Harare decided to quit his job so that he can venture into full time rabbit breeding.

Jambaya, who is locally known as "Mr. Rabbit", said after venturing into full time rabbit farming four years ago, life has never been the same.

What started as hobby since an early age has become a profitable commercial venture, which has enabled him to reinvest the proceeds in his business while meeting other financial obligations.

"When I started, it was a hobby but discovering that I can actually earn a bit of money to feed my family I decided to make it my profession," Jambaya told Xinhua at his plot on the outskirts of the capital Harare.

Gift Jambaya, a Zimbabwean entrepreneur feeds a rabbit at his plot on the outskirts of Harare, capital of Zimbabwe, Nov. 19, 2020. (Xinhua/Tafara Mugwara)

With the growing demand for rabbit in Zimbabwe, Jambaya said the breeding business is booming like never before.

On realizing that very few people in Zimbabwe were practicing proper rabbit breeding, Jambaya started mass production of rabbits.

He also started helping other farmers that wanted to get into commercial rabbit breeding, and his success story incited many farmers to venture into the business.

"I am one of the pioneers that are helping a lot of farmers in getting into this project, and letting people know that breeding rabbits is actually a business, not just a backyard project. You can actually grow it to massive heights," he said.

Some of Jambaya's breeds include the Chinchilla, California White, New Zealand White, New Zealand Red among others.

With increased demand of rabbit meat due to its delicacy and nutritional value, restaurants and retail shops in Zimbabwe have turned out to be his big customers.

Jambaya said the increase in rabbit meat is partly driven health conscious residents who need meat that is less on cholesterol.

Rabbit meat products are also said to possess medicinal properties, and the meat has a higher percentage of easily digestible protein.

In addition, rabbit meat has the lowest fat and calories, less sodium content and a high meat-bone ratio.

Other end products that are obtained from rabbits such as fur and manure even make breeding rabbits more attractive to small scale and urban farmers.

"When I come to rabbits actually meat is the last product that we get from rabbits after getting rabbit manure which is very good organic for growing vegetables and horticulture, which is part of my project is," he said.

Aside from the highly nutritional meat, rabbit dung can be used as fertilizer, and their urine can be used as a pesticide.

Jambaya said while rearing rabbits requires plenty of dedication and hard work, it has the potential to generate a lucrative and steady income stream.

Unlike many poultry farmers who are faced with the challenge of oversupply, Jambaya said rabbit farmers are still yet to saturate the market.

The main advantage of rearing rabbits is that their offspring grow fast and reach breeding and marketing age more quickly than other livestock, Jambaya said.

"Rabbits produce faster, once you get the art of producing rabbits, they produce fast," he said.

A single female rabbit can be bred up to nine times in a single year, while it takes about 33 days for a pregnant rabbit to produce offspring.

Jambaya said for those looking for a lucrative income stream, commercial rabbits farming might be an option to seriously consider since rabbits do not require large amounts of space compared to other species.

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