By Chimezie Godfrey
The National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) says it is training 17,000 youths on rabbit rearing across states of the federation.
The Executive Secretary NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne who disclosed this during a press briefing on Wednesday in Abuja, noted that they are training Nigerian youths on animal husbandry which is segmented into goat and rabbit rearing.
According to him, NALDA has done goat rearing in some states and is implementing rabbit rearing in other states.
He disclosed that NALDA is implementing the first phase of the program in 18 states especially in the southern part of the country.
According to him, among the 18 states, the program has started in Abia, Imo, Oyo and Cross River and they have already received their rabbits, which are in the custody of the state coordinators.
Ikonne who lamented the fact that many Nigerians are unaware of the potential benefits of rabbit rearing urged interested persons to seize the opportunity to register for the program.
He said,”A lot of people do not know the potentials, benefits and the money they can make from rearing rabbits.
“Rabbit has entire value chain, nothing is a waste farming rabbits. From the meat, the skin, poo, and the urine they are all money making machine. So, we are engaging our youths into rabbit farming.
“NALDA has designed a program to take in 17,000 rabbit farmers, especially in the south, and we have commenced the engagement in some states.
“All our programs are in phases, in this first phase, Imo, Abia, Cross River and Oyo, they have received their rabbits, and young farmers have been engaged into rabbit farming.
“The program is very simple, from the first day the farmer start rearing rabbit, they start making money from that day.
“From the collection of the urine to the collection of the poo which will be used as fertilizer, their money will keep accumulating, at the end of the month, we pay them based on the litres and kilograms they submitted to NALDA at their various states before the off-taker takes them.
“So, you can see the benefit of rearing rabbit, before go into the processing, the sale of the animal itself is another means of income.
“The meat is one of the best meat because it is white meat and it is good for those that are having cholesterol issues, that also is a source of income.
“Then the hide which is the skin is also in high demand for designers, so, you can see the benefits of engaging our people in rabbit rearing.
Ikonne noted that rabbit rearing is not common in Nigeria, but that diversification is the way to go, adding that agriculture is the direction the world is helding to.
He stressed that the beauty of rabbit rearing is that it does not have much hazard and it does not require so much, adding rabbit eats everything and it does not require much space.
“So you can farm it in the smallest space you have in your house whether you are a landlord or a tenant and it does not litter the environment.
“So, we are encouraging our youths to get enthusiastic about this program and get engaged into it.
“At least on the average, the sum of N100,000 in a month is what a rabbit farmer will be making from rearing rabbits. And you can see the level it can get to, to cater for families and homes.
“So, it is something we have engaged in and we will keep expanding,” he said.
Ikonne said that the President has given all the approvals and the funds required for the program has been made available for NALDA.
He stressed that they have no reason not to deliver on their mandate and to reach out to young Nigerians who are desirous of getting engaged into gainful and meaningful business or activities.
Speaking on the process of being a beneficiary of the program, Ikonne said that the program is community based and that individuals need to identify themselves at NALDA office in their respective states.
“If you live in an Urban area you have to go and identify yourself at the NALDA office in your state. We have offices across the country, at the 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 rabbit, to also register through the NALDA WhatsApp group which is also at NALDA website.
“The website is www.nalda.ng, where interested young Nigerians can go in, get the required information and be part of rabbit rearing,” he said.
On how to identify the off-takers, the Executive Secretary said that some companies and individuals have identified their interest for off-taking the fertizers generated from the urine and poos from the rabbits.
He added that NALDA will also play the role of off-takers because they have farms that they are establishing across the country as they get land donations from the communities, adding that this will enable NALDA augment the fertilizer demand in Nigeria.
Ikonne pointed out that NALDA have offices in all the states of the federation, except for Rives State, where they are hopeful of establishing one in no distant time.
He however, stressed that, the fact that NALDA is yet to establish office in River State does not shut out the people from there from registering for the program.