The National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) says it has started a rabbit farming programme, aimed at engaging 17,000 youths, especially in the southern part of the country.
The Executive Secretary of NALDA, Mr Paul Ikonne disclosed this while addressing newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said that NALDA would make available the rabbits, cages, vaccines and training for the youths for free, while the beneficiaries were expected to return the kitten when the rabbit delivered, so that it would be used to empower others.
“If you recall, President Muhammadu Buhari had launched national young farmers scheme, which intends to take in 774,000 young Nigerians into the entire agribusiness.
“And this programme has started implementing the first leg of it, which is our animal husbandry.
“In this segment, we are doing goat rearing and rabbit rearing. A lot of people do not know the potential, the benefits and the money they can make from rearing rabbit.
“Rabbit has entire value chain; nothing is a waste in rabbit farming.
“All our programmes are in phases; in this first phase, Imo, Abia, Cross River and Oyo have received rabbits and young farmers have been engaged in rabbit farming,” he said.
Ikonne said that NALDA would also buy the urine, dung and skin of the rabbits from the youths, which would also be a source of income for the beneficiaries.
“From the meat, the hide — which is the skin — the dung and the urine; they are all money-making machine.
“The programme is very simple, from the first day the farmer starts rearing rabbits, they start making money; from the collection of the urine, to the collection of the dung, which will be used as organic fertiliser,
“Their money will keep accumulating; at the end of the month, we’ll pay them based on the litres and kilograms of what they have submitted to the NALDA Office at their various states before the off-taker takes it,” he said
Ikonne said the potential of rearing rabbits was huge; before going into the processing and the sale of the animal itself, which “is another means of income’’.
“So you can see the benefits of engaging our people in rabbit rearing; it is not common in Nigeria, but diversification is the way to go and agriculture is the direction the world is heading.
“The beauty about this is that it doesn’t have much hazards, it doesn’t require so much, rabbit virtually eats everything and it doesn’t require too much space, so you can farm it at the smallest space you have in your house, whether you are a landlord or a tenant, and it doesn’t litter the environment.’’
Ikonne said that each beneficiary was expected to earn an average of N100,000 monthly from the sales of the urine, dungs, skin and the rabbit itself.
He said that President Buhari had given all the approvals, while the funds required to implement the programme had been made available to NALDA.
“For interested persons and for the process of being a beneficiary, our programme is community-based, if you live in an urban area, you have to go identify yourself at the NALDA office in your state.
“We have offices across the country at various state capitals. If you also check our website, you will see NALDA offices; we also have our WhatsApp group for those who intend to rear rabbits to also register through the NALDA WhatsApp Group,” he said.