Duck and rabbit farming a booming business venture

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Bereng Mpaki

Duck and rabbit meat production is a lucrative business for local farmers to practice.

Vincent Chechile, a small-scale famer of both ducks and rabbits has said.

Mr Chechile is currently on a campaign to raise awareness of the financial benefits of duck and rabbit meat.

He added that the meat has a unique nutritional advantage and profitable export market.

Based in Lithabaneng, Mr Chechile currently has a parent stock of 58 ducks he plans to breed for commercial meat production purposes.

He is also raising a small herd of rabbits and free-range chickens to reproduce for commercial production.

Vincent Chechile

Mr Chechile is currently hosting workshops aimed at encouraging farmers to venture into the integrated business to boost their pockets.

The workshops are aimed at training attendants how to farm ducks and rabbits for commercial purposes and serving as a networking platform.

Mr Chichile said with many people in the country increasingly seeking healthier meat options, farmers can never go wrong if they are to produce rabbit and duck meat.

He added that there are less hustles associated with importing duck and rabbit meat compared to chicken, beef and pork and therefore could be an ideal substitute for other meats.

“We are currently holding national workshops to popularise the production of these meats around the country,” Mr Chechile said in an interview.

“We believe these products have a potential to contribute towards development of the country’s economy. With many people seeking health-conscious consumption, duck and rabbit are an ideal option.”

He said Lesotho is also known for its pristine environment which makes it suitable for producing organic products.

Mr Chechile said scaling production of duck and rabbit meat can significantly help to reduce the amount of meat imports into the country and keep income circulating with the country.

“These are products we see having the same potential as cosmetics and other agricultural products that are being produced for both domestic and export consumption.”

Thapelo ‘Moleli, a duck farmer within Mr Chechile’s network, says duck farming has been part of his life from as far back as 1988.

He currently slaughters an average of 120 ducks per month, though this sometimes goes up to 150 depending on the demand.

He said duck meat is lean if the skin is removed. He said the characteristics of its fats are equivalent to those of olive oil.

Mr Moleli said duck meat is also considered a competitor with the trout fish in terms of nutritional value.

“Duck farming is a financially rewarding business, but you need to get it right on feeding to be successful.”

Rabbit farmer Lehasa Mokete, says while many people keep rabbits as pets, a few realise how much money they can make by rearing them on a larger scale for commercial production.

“Rabbit meat is lean, low in cholesterol, calories and saturated fats making it ideal for diabetes, heart ailments and hypertension patients to consume safely.”

He said rabbit meat can be used to produce processed meat products such as sausages, and pie among others.

“There is a large export market in countries like China and the Philippines among others that our farmers can supply if we increase our production volumes.”

He said that the rate of breeding makes rabbits one of the best sustainable meat sources which makes them ideal for turnover.

“Rabbits can reproduce every second month and this make them to multiply much faster than other animals.”

He said that there is a need for slaughtering slabs in the country to support the business to break into the formal market.

“At the moment farmers have to use backyard abattoirs for slaughtering, and which is a market access challenge for us.”

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