The demand for rabbit meat is rising daily driven by evidence that rabbit meat is better than other types of meat.Rabbits are also reared for their wool, fur and even urine for manure. There are several types of breeds that are most reared in Kenya such as the Chinchilla, California White, New Zealand White, British Giant, Flemish Giant and Dutch among others.
Moses Mutua one of the movers and shakers in rabbit business is the third born in a family of six. His ambition was to become a soldier but this dream was shuttered after the death of his late father in 1999 leaving them with their jobless mother.
Due to lack of school fees, Mutua could not continue schooling after form four. He then decided to move to Nairobi to look for a job to support his widowed mother and his younger siblings that were still in school.
He got a casual job at the Kariobangi Restaurant as a cook and did his work well although what he earned every month was not enough for him to cater for his family which made decide to look for another job.
After getting his ID card, Mutua secured a job at Wells Fargo as a security guard and from the small salary he got, he started attending evening classes for marketing.
“I tried my luck at the Wells Fargo as a security guard in 2002 though I could also attend evening classes for marketing course. I later decided to settle down and got myself a wife and we have been blessed with two children. After sometimes, a robbery took place at the bank in Westlands where I was working. Two men pointed guns at me and told me to lie down or else they will shoot me. I decided to do exactly as I was told for the sake of my life and after the incident had taken place, I later resigned,” said Mutua.
From the marketing course that he took while at Wells Fargo, Mutua got a sales job in Sagana Company to sell aquariums. He could also attend a fish training course that were offered by the company.
“After all these ups and downs, I decided to open my own company called Aqua Farm Consultants popularly known as the Rabbit Republic Limited. At this point, I knew how to make fish ponds and i started selling fish aquariums and also do the same project for other people. As I was doing my other farming projects, I met a rabbit farmer in Rongai and was really inspired by what she was doing. I later spent 2 years doing a research on commercial rabbit farming where I started my own farm. Now I have over 80 farms in East Africa,” said Mutua.
The farms employs over over 100 people with more openings expected once he expands to markets in China, South Korea among other countries. He is also setting up a rabbit slaughter house in Nairobi's Dagoreti area.
Most of the rabbit farms are located in Nairobi,Thika, Nanyuki, Eldoret, Kitale, Kakamega, Busia, Mt.Kenya, Machakos, Uganda and in Tanzania.
"We guide interested farmers from construction of rabbit hutches, give them the right rabbit breeders, train them on breeding and disease management and give them technical support for the first three months. We are the market for their rabbits through signed contracts and mutual agreements. We have partnered with financial institutions for possible finance products for commercial rabbit production” said Mutua.
• Have brown to grey fur.
• Upstanding ears and brown eyes.
• The buck and the doe attain weight of 6-7 kgs at 5 months.
• Meat yield is 4-5 kgs.
• Have a dense white fur.
• Upstanding black ears and black nose.
• The buck and the doe attain weight of 3.0-3.5 kgs at 4-6 months.
• Meat yield is 2.0-2.3 kgs.
New Zealand white
• Have dense white fur. Upstanding ears and red/pink eyes.
• The buck and doe attain weight of 4.5 and 4.5-5.5 kgs respectively at 4 months.
• Meat yield is 2.1-2.3 kgs.
• Have dense fir which maybe white black, white blue brown, grey.
• Upstanding ears and grey pink or blue eyes.
• The buck attains weight of 5.0-5.5 kgs in 4-6 months. The does are usually heavier.
• It appears in number of different varieties; dark grey,
black, white, blue, brown, grey and opal.
• Have brown fur.
• Upstanding brown white ears brown eyes.
• The buck and the doe attain weight of 5.0-5.5 kgs in 4-6 months.
• Meat yield is 2.5-3.0 kgs.
• Flemish giant may have various colours. Black, blue fawn,
light grey, sandy steel, grey and white.
• Black with a white tie around the neck.