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Rabbits: The Hope for Rural Communities without Land

Experience and initiative

After having worked with the Community Development Department in its land services in Ngozi town, Firmin saw how poor the rural community is in his region due to the exploitation of small plots of cultivable land.

He realized that there was the need of some measures requiring permanent stabling of animals, as goats and cattle breeding was not adapted to the fact of not having enough land to raise them. Therefore, he started analysing and saw what was the solution that seemed beneficial to this great community in poverty.

Why the choice of raising rabbits  

Pourquoi le choix de l’élevage de lapins

Rabbit is an animal that has long been enjoyed by rural Burundians for its tasty flavour. Moreover, rabbits do not require large areas to be raised because they consume little food in comparison with other animals.

Raising rabbits can be a profitable way of farming in Burundi, but even if its meat is much appreciated by Burundians, it is not much promoted yet - knowing that a rabbit can cost 6,000 FBU, which is around 4 USD -.

Interventions are much oriented to poultry farming at the expense of breeding rabbits, a breeding sector without competition and less demand when comparing it to the feeding of poultry. 

His Approach

Firmin started with a very small capital of 4 females and 1 male in the community of Gacekeri. For the extension of rabbit farming, he constructed simple and cheap hutches.

In August, he started working with the household, Mr. Deo, and continued doing so until December, when the first rabbits gave birth. Then, he gave Mr. Deo 4 females. The small chain now arrives at its third generation as he recently gave to Innocent and Chantal a female to keep the chain moving.

Resulting challenges

Pourquoi le choix de l’élevage de lapins

In August 2014, Firmin had raised a total of 36 rabbits after having sold a dozen: 16 rabbits for Mr. Deo, and 20 rabbits for Innocent and Chantal. The sharing is equitable because it’s based on such a clear approach where fairness prevails.

Still, Burundians are not yet convinced of the profitability of livestock farming rabbits. There is a lack of building materials, the risk of mice eating the small rabbits, as well as the easy transmission of certain diseases such as diarrhoea, or hair loss.

Recommendations

Firmin stresses about the need to raise awareness about livestock regarding rabbit breeding, profitability and especially the popularization of good practices and attitudes to take regarding this type of farming.

In order to achieve that, Firmin also claims that it would be very important to have more veterinaries and medicines close to the farmers and above all, closer food at a reasonable price.

By Eric Mavaruganda, YPARD Burundi representative