Zimbabwe’s Raymeg Consultants launches first rabbit abattoir taking advantage of niche market

ZIMBABWE – Raymeg Consultants Private Limited, a corporate member of the Zimbabwe Commercial Rabbit Breeders Association (ZICORBA), has inaugurated Zimbabwe’s first export certified rabbit abattoir.

Having an installed processing capacity of more than 2.5 tonnes per day, the facility will thrust rabbit meat firmly on to the country’s white meat sub-sector, which was until recently, mainly a preserve of pork, chicken and fish.

Raymeg Executive director, Mrs Paidamoyo Nyamakanga, said in an interview with The Herald, the abattoir, situated on a 2.5-acre plot in Waterfalls, Harare, has generated much interest on the domestic and export rabbit market.

“Since construction of the abattoir was completed, we received a flood of enquiries from potential local and external customers. The response from rabbit farmers has also been humbling.

“During our first week of operation, we bought nearly 1 000 live rabbits, mainly from Harare and its environs,” she said.

The company has already signed trade agreements with some of Zimbabwe’s largest supermarket chains, namely Pick ‘n Pay and TM Supermarkets, Spar Zimbabwe and Choppies where they will avail the meat products.

“While we are encouraged by the response from the local market, we feel that the price of rabbit meat is still much higher than that of other competing white meats such as chicken, beef and fish.

“For us to effectively compete on the white meat sub-sector and entrench rabbit meat on the local market, we need to revisit the prices of rabbits and rabbit meat, lest the rabbit sector remains a backyard operation,” said Nyamakanga.

“Since construction of the abattoir was completed, we received a flood of enquiries from potential local and external customers.”

Raymeg Executive director – Paidamoyo Nyamakanga

Depending on the scale of production in Zimbabwe, Raymeg Holdings would consider opening smaller abattoirs in other major centres in Zimbabwe, she said.

Raymeg Holdings recently launched a stockfeed division, which distributes rabbit pellets and other feeds manufactured by Agrifoods, National Foods and Capital Foods.

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The rabbit meat market has been booming with the country 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.

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