Young people urged to embrace rabbit production

By Dumisani Nyoni

The Zimbabwe Commercial Rabbit Breeders Association (Zicorba) has appointed two young people in Bulawayo as brand ambassadors to popularise rabbit production and consumption among school and college students.

Rabbit industry is one of the fastest growing industries globally, with statistics showing that over four billion kilogrammes are consumed world-wide with some countries in Europe importing between US$20 million to US$33 million worth of rabbits annually.

In Zimbabwe, the sector is still growing and as such, Zicorba has appointed youth ambassadors to popularize it.

The two ambassadors are Leeroy Madzvimbo, an Upper Six student with Herentals College and Delloite Moyo, a Form 2 pupil at Petra High.

Madzvimbo told the CITE that their role as ambassadors was to popularise rabbit production and consumption among youth,  school and college students through social media outlets and platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook,  Twitter, and Instagram.  

Their schools of target are in Bulawayo, Matabeleland South and North.

“Due to Covid-19 there will be no direct interface between youth ambassadors and other stakeholders. A number of schools and colleges already have rabbit production as part of their curriculum,” he said. 

“The idea of youth ambassadors is to raise more awareness of the health and economic benefits of commercial rabbit production among youth.  Studies have shown that rabbit meat, which is categorised as white meat, has low calories compared to other white meats,” he said.

Madzvimbo said due to the fact that rabbits are fed on organic food, the meat lends itself to being organic food, making the benefits of eating rabbit meat even greater. 

“By promoting healthy eating among young people, Zicorba is working towards building a healthy nation.  Zicorba also believes that rabbit production among the youth will generate income and create employment for them after they graduate from colleges and universities,” he said.  

“This has a direct benefit to the country as it improves the country’s gross domestic product and improves livelihoods.”

Zicorba was formed by a group of farmers early this year to help formalise commercial rabbit production among the majority of Zimbabweans, bringing an end to many years where the sector was dominated by a few individuals.

Zimbabwe, Kenya, South Africa and Egypt are among some of the top producers of rabbit meat in Africa. 

The global rabbit meat market revenue amounted to US$6.4 billion in 2017, picking up by 12% against the previous year while meat consumption peaked in 2017, and is expected to retain its growth in the immediate term.

The amount of rabbit or hare meat consumed worldwide totalled 1.5 million tonnes in 2017, picking up by 2.9% against the previous year. The total consumption volume increased an average annual rate of plus 2.8% from 2007 to 2017.

In the period under review, the country with the largest volume of rabbit meat consumption was China (925K tonnes), comprising approximately 62% of the total consumption.

Driven by increasing demand for rabbit meat worldwide, the market is expected to continue an upward consumption trend over the next decade.

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