In any free market economy, the forces of demand and supply dictate the price. Rabbit farming business in Nigeria is not an exception to this economic theory. At a time as far back as 1993 when the founder of Bella Rabbits World commenced rabbit farming to support his parents for his secondary school education, a 30-day old baby rabbit was sold at N50.00 while a matured regular rabbit was sold at N250.00. The main food then were grasses, leaves, dried cassava peels and kitchen wastes.
This was not the era of social media and technological advancements. Rabbit farming in many parts of Nigeria then was really at a subsistence level. Farmers were less concern about the weight gain. Commercial Rabbit Feeds was not common. Customer’s basis for buying rabbits then was not on weight but physical appearance. The market for rabbit in Offa Community, Kwara State was great because it was like a bandwagon effect. Rabbit farming then was like hobby and not business driven.
The current Nigerian Rabbit Industry is very distinct from what was obtainable in those days. Rabbit farming is now business driven and like a gold mining business. Exotic rabbits such as Hyla, American Chinchilla and Angora are among the most sought after rabbits with high market values. Although, there is no organized open market for rabbits like that of chicken and fish, but there is an unimaginable high demand for quality exotic rabbits in Nigeria.
In the last 3 years, the high demand for these exotic rabbits led to an upward increase in market price of rabbits. This is not unconnected with the emergence of Bella Rabbits World as a reliable Offtake of exotic rabbits from users of Bella Feeds in Nigeria, coupled with instant cash payment for rabbits, faeces and urine. Nigerian Rabbit Farmers began to enjoy what Coffee Farmers in Rwanda and Cocoa Farmers in Ghana are enjoying from Offtakes. Over the years, the rabbit off taking scheme serves as a Catalyst and forces behind geometric upward demand for rabbits in Nigeria.
On a daily basis, as awareness for rabbit farming business increases, the demand for exotic rabbit increases including rabbit meat consumption and its health benefits. Surprisingly, as at today, a baby exotic female rabbit of 1kg is N10, 000.00 while a quality matured exotic rabbit is on the average of N25, 000.00 per one. I don't know if there is going to be an increase in the price of rabbits in the year 2021 but I am 100% sure that the demand for rabbit will skyrocket.
For now, no farmer can meet demand for meat rabbit in Nigeria. On a daily basis, I turned down Restaurants owners who demand for rabbit meat. Bella started off taking rabbit meat from farmers at N1, 800 per kilo when there was no supply, the company increased it to N2, 000.00 per kilo. No single supply till today. A farmer with just 100 quality matured rabbit is a Millionaire. With just 200 female quality baby rabbits, you are sure of N2Million from the sales.
The era of rabbit rearing as hobby has gone. Rabbit farming is now a very lucrative business in Nigeria to the level that the Federal Government of Nigeria has shown interest in it by using it as part of means of empowering youths. Some years ago, the fear of any potential investor in rabbit farming business was market. However, with the current rabbit market situation in Nigeria, market is not the area of concern but how to start the farm with quality foundation stocks and knowledge to manage the farm in a profitable direction and prevent the farm against infection and deadly virus.
As the CEO of Bella Rabbits World, I will continue to echo it that the fear of RHD Virus in rabbit farming is the beginning of wisdom. Many people shy away from talking about the negative aspects of rabbit farming. Let me discuss few of these challenges but not problems. As a passionate and focused rabbit farmer, I don't see any problem in rabbit farming business but I see challenges which give me opportunity to draw learning points from every summoned challenge.
RHD Virus is a great killer and destroyer of any rabbit farm within few days regardless of the size. It is not a respecter of any farm except those people that have fully ready for it. The havoc that this virus caused several farmers in the last few months was a multi-million naira loss. Initially, when it started, as a CEO of Bella Rabbits World, I donated the sum of N1million to infected farms; unknowingly that it was just the beginning of the RHD havoc.
Let me state it categorically and authoritatively with all humility and sincerity that Nigerian Rabbit Industry is still at a confused stage as regards administration of Vaccine to prevent RHD Virus in Nigeria. Some government officials of Vet. Services at both state and federal levels are kicking against it. One thing that is sacrosanct is that a responsible rabbit farmer should not joke with regular disinfection of their farms at least twice in a week and make sure that their rabbit's immune system is strong.
A rabbit with strong immune system may likely survive RHD Virus outbreak. Farmers should not joke with it. Bella's Organic Immune Booster is very effective in boosting immune system of rabbits and serving several other health benefits for rabbits and other animals. If you know how to formulate an effective organic Immune Booster, you can formulate and use to protect your farm. The earlier rabbit farmers take that mantle of responsibility to secure their farms, the better.
Rabbit farming becomes enjoyable and source of wealth creation when the right knowledge is in place, guaranteed market and instant payment. I can confidently say that rabbit farming can easily turn a farmer to a Millionaire. I am in the right place to say this truth.
I have some other animals and birds like cattle, Sahelian goats, sheep, Duck, Chicken in a commercial quantity but I can confidently say it that they are not as profitable as rabbit farming.
The love for rabbit farming turned me from a senior officer in Access Bank to a farmer.
*CEO Bella Rabbits World*
Samson Olawale Ogunwole