ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe is set to commence the use of artificial insemination (AI) on rabbits for the first time, following the Zimbabwe Commercial Rabbit Breeders Association (ZICORBA) entering into a deal with a reputable South African veterinary specialist, Vriesit Andrology Laboratories, for provision of the technology.
The agreement is expected to significantly boost the country’s commercial rabbit breeding industry.
According to reports by Chronicle, France and South Africa are among a handful of countries globally that practice artificial insemination on rabbits, especially for the purposes of commercial production of rabbits reared for meat.
ZICORBA has secured a niche for rabbit meat on the local market with demand expected to rise to over 25 tonnes per month. The farm-gate price for rabbit meat is estimated between US$4 and US$4.50 per kilogramme.
ZICORBA president, Mr Regis Nyamakanga, revealed that the parties are planning to undertake the inaugural AI on rabbits in Zimbabwe in October this year.
“We have been in discussions with Mr Henk van Der Laarse, the founder and CEO of Vriesit Andrology Laboratories to deliver the first artificial insemination in Zimbabwe in October this year, as we move to revolutionize rabbit breeding in the country.“ZICORBA President – Mr Regis Nyamakanga
This will be the first artificial insemination to be taken on rabbits in Africa outside of South Africa.
“We have been in discussions with Mr Henk van Der Laarse, the founder and CEO of Vriesit Andrology Laboratories to deliver the first artificial insemination in Zimbabwe in October this year, as we move to revolutionize rabbit breeding in the country.
“As part of this programme, we will soon take delivery of the state-of-the art artificial insemination apparatus from Viesit once we have concluded the funding arrangements for them,” he said.
Mr Nyamakanga said the idea to undertake artificial insemination was conceived as a strategy to boost rabbit production in Zimbabwe, especially for commercial breeding purposes.
“We are looking at artificial insemination as an option to reduce the buck numbers and consequently production cost. With artificial insemination, we will be selecting the productive male rabbits for semen donors,” he said.
The aim is to inseminate up to 80 does within an hour after semen collection. The conception rate is expected to be between 70 and 80 percent.
“We will work with Vriesit Andrology Laboratories to deliver AI on rabbits in Zimbabwe starting October this year. This will also include training of ZIRCOBA members on rabbit breeding using AI,” he said.
Mr Nyamakanga said the training, offered by the specialists from South Africa, will cover breeding methods, semen collection, diluting semen and insemination of does among others.
This comes as Zimbabwe is currently establishing a rabbit abattoir with a capacity to handle one tonne of rabbit meat per day.
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