THE Zimbabwe Commercial Rabbit Association (ZICORBA), is engaged in discussions with their counterparts in Botswana to supply that country with about 1,5 tonnes of rabbit meat per month.
According to ZICORBA, Botswana’s Northern Rabbit Breeders Association (NORBA) president, Timbu Iris Ntjenje, told a series of workshops held for farmers in Botswana recently that although demand for rabbit meat was on the rise in that country, local production was still lagging.
It is in the context that NORBA has engaged ZICORBA to start importing rabbit meat from Zimbabwe.
“We have approached our friends in Zimbabwe to supply us with rabbit meat to meet local demand while we ramp up our production.
“NORBA is looking for about 1,5 tonnes of rabbit meat from Zimbabwe per month to start with. We see our cooperation with Zicorba expanding to other areas of common interests,” she said.
Rabbit breeders in Botswana also intend to import quality breeding stock from Zimbabwe while focusing on training of the farmers and increasing biosecurity.
Ntjenje said her association has also embarked on roadshows to promote the consumption of rabbit meat in Botswana and the campaign has been well received with a number of hotels, restaurants and supermarkets adding rabbit meat to their menus and product lines, respectively.
Since its formation in 2020, ZICORBA has been on an offensive to transform the country’s cuniculture sector that was facing extinction in recent years.
In July last year, ZICORBA completed the construction of Zimbabwe’s first export approved rabbit abattoir in Harare to the tune of US$1 million.
The abattoir, which began operating in September last year has a capacity to slaughter between 2,5 tonnes and 3,5 tonnes of rabbits in a single eight-hour shift.
While plans are in the pipeline to build a similar facility in Bulawayo, satellite rabbit slaughter-houses will also be developed across the country as part of measures to capacitate rabbit producers.
Meanwhile, African rabbit producers and Zimbabwean authorities have congratulated ZICORBA on its second anniversary dubbing it one of the most innovative and successful rabbit farmers’ lobby groups on the continent. Nigeria’s Oyo State Rabbit Farmers and Breeders Association president, Pastor Josephine Oyelami, pledged her organisation’s continued co-operation with ZICORBA in the development of a strong African rabbit farming sector.
Rabbit Farmers Association of Zambia president Chris Daka, said ZICORBA’s achievements over the past two years were inspirational while South Africa’s Gauteng Rabbit Breeders Association (GRBA) executive Anton Gouws, said his organisation would continue to play a part in the growth and development of the rabbit industry in Zimbabwe.
Ntjenje said rabbit farmers in Botswana were encouraged by ZICORBA’s achievements over a relatively short space of time.
Rabbit Breeders Association of Kenya (RABAK) president Peter Waiganjo, pledged his organisation’s continued support to ZICORBA and Zimbabwe’s rabbit industry while the National Rabbit Training Institute of Kenya chief executive Nathan Rotich, said Zimbabwe was poised to play a leading role on rabbit production in Africa.
Buck and Doe of Uganda president Maggie Lukowe, said she hoped that the partnership between her organisation and ZICORBA would continue to grow in leaps and bounds for the benefit of rabbit producers in Africa.
Mozambique Rabbit Producers Association president, Edwardo Daveto, threw his organisation’s weight behind ZICORBA.
“We pledge our full support to the vision, mission, strategy of ZICORBA and look forward to greater co-operation between our two organisations,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s Livestock and Meat Advisory Council (LMAC) chief executive Dr Renneth Mano, said ZICORBA, which is the youngest livestock value-chain in the country, had made tremendous efforts in coming up with innovative ways to reorganise and re-energise the rabbit production sector.
The LMAC boss said ZICORBA had adopted a different approach in dealing with challenges in the sector by treating the problems as opportunities and crafting solutions to overcome them.
LMAC is an umbrella body that represents 13 livestock associations.