Marketing is the number one problem with rabbit raisers in Kenya today. In theory, the demand is great considering the current population explosion and world wide food shortages. In actuality, the demand for rabbit meat is either too high or too low for the rabbit producers to supply.

Presently, the lack of statistical data concerning the feasibility or the marketability of rabbit meat plagues the backyard and commercial rabbit entrepreneur. Hopefully, in the future, with the involvement of national government agencies and private organizations in rabbit production as an alternative protein source, there will be studies conducted on the various potentials and/or detriments of this field for the entrepreneur to utilize as guidelines.

Marketing prospects should be located and developed promptly when one engages in rabbit production. The FIRST market for meat is the family, neighbors, towns and cities within the locality. Rabbit meat can then be sold in dressed form to hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, and open markets. Rabbit barbecue can be sold by sidewalk vendors. But if we are to succeed at all we must successfully market the IDEA of eating rabbit meat to ALL strata of the population…not only to the middle and upper class but, to the strata that compose the majority of the populace… the grass roots. WE must in fact convince ourselves before convincing others!

Rabbits have the advantage of early maturity, fast growth rate, high prolificacy, high feed conversion efficiency and economical utilization of space. They convert 20% of their protein intake into meat, compared to pigs and cattle, which convert between 16% to 18% and 8% to 12%, respectively.

If the potential of the rabbit industry is well understood and explored, it will reduce poverty, improve food and nutritional security, and contribute to economic development. Rabbit meat would offer a cheap and affordable source of protein for many rural households.

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REMEMBER: YOU and your community are the FIRST and BEST market before expanding sales to hotels, restaurants, etc.

Market rabbit meat strategy

There are at least three eye-opening steps to make money marketing rabbit meat. These steps are as follows;

a) Rear and process own rabbit meat

This is the most profitable operation for a rabbit farmer. Rear and add value. No selling live rabbits. Rear, slaughter, package, label and market the meat. No middlemen in this chain. You make money and earn huge profits.
The best marketing plan: Breed your own rabbits, process the meat, brand and sell the product.

b) Hire a rabbit meat processor

Here you take your live rabbit to a processor (factory.) The rabbits are slaughtered and packed nicely. Then you take the meat and go market it yourself. You have paid a rabbit meat processor an agreed fee. But you have the final say in pricing. You find your own markets and thus make better profits.

c) Selling live rabbits to a rabbit meat processor

Most rabbit farmers fall in this category. They sell live rabbits to processing companies. This is the least profitable step. Selling raw material gives the processor the advantage. They are the ones who make huge profits.

d) Form a local group of rabbit farmers and process your own rabbit meat

Rabbit farmers should form local groups made up purely of rabbit farmers. This will allow you to join forces in feeds procurement, disease management and marketing. As an organized group, you get to work with government for support in both production and marketing.
Major hotels need rabbit meat suppliers. On your own, you canโ€™t get an order at Hotel Intercontinental because you lack the capacity. But as a group you can go to Serena Hotel and get an order to supply rabbit meat. Hotels need rabbit meat on a daily basis. It could be 100 kilograms per day. Alone you canโ€™t satisfy this order but as a group you can. Every member could contribute a few kilograms.
You make better profits for your hard work.
Here are a few markets for groups looking to find markets for rabbit meat:
โ€ข Hotels
โ€ข Supermarkets
โ€ข Boarding schools, Colleges and Universities

e) Slaughter and sell your own rabbit meat

You can decide to go it alone. This is a good route for naturally aggressive individuals. If you donโ€™t fear, go out and create your own market. Teach local people the advantages and benefits of eating rabbit meat. Sell your meat to local butcheries. Sell it to small local hotels and food kiosks. This way you will create local demand for rabbit meat. This will enable you to become the main man as far as rabbit meat supply is concerned in your area.

c) Add value to rabbit meat

Donโ€™t sell live rabbits. Slaughter your rabbits at your farm. Then start production of sausages. Sausages made of rabbit meat. There is a huge market for white meat sausages. Thus sell to hotels, fish & chips dens, supermarkets, colleges and hospitals.
Today we arenโ€™t talking about rabbit meat processors. They are freezing rabbit farmers to death by under-paying you.
How do you make good money as a rabbit farmer?
By going out there and getting your own markets. This could be both local and export markets. Form local farmer groups to overcome exploitation by local rabbit meat processors.

Conclusion

Rabbit meat is a healthy product of high nutritional value. It is tender white meat almost free of cholesterol which can replace chicken. The dietary properties of rabbit meat suggest high recommendation for frequent consumption, especially by children and adolescents, pregnant women, athletes and the elderly.

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