The Executive Secretary of the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA), Paul Ikonne, has said that the authority has commenced a programme to train 17,000 youth on rabbit farming in the southern part of the country.
Mr Ikonne disclosed this while speaking with journalists in Abuja on Wednesday.
According to him, “NALDA has designed a programme to take in 17,000 rabbit farmers especially in the south, and we have commenced the engagement in some states.
“All our programnes are in phases; in this first phase, Imo, Abia, Cross River and Oyo states have received rabbits and young farmers have been engaged into rabbit farming.
“If you recall, Mr President had launched the National young farmers scheme, which we intend 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.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has given all the approvals and the funds required to implement the program has been made available to NALDA,” he said.
“A lot of people do not know the potentials, the benefits and the money they can make from rabbit rearing,
“Rabbit has an entire value chain, nothing is a waste in farming rabbits.
“From the meat, the hide, which is the skin, the dung and the urine, they are all money-making machines,” he added.
He noted that the authority would also buy the urine, dungs and skin of the rabbits from the youths, which is also a source of income for the beneficiaries.
“Each beneficiary is expected to earn an average of N100,000 monthly from the sales of the urine, dungs, skin and the rabbit itself.
“At least the average of N100,000 a month somebody will be making from rearing rabbits from all these products, and you can see the level it will get to cater for families and homes, so it is something we have engaged in, and we will keep expanding,” he said.
He added that the authority would make available the rabbits, cage, vaccine and training for the youths free, while the beneficiaries are expected to return the kitten when the rabbit delivers so that it would be used to empower others.
“The programme is very simple, from the first day the farmer started rearing rabbits.
“They start making money from that day, from the collection of the urine to the collection of the dungs which will be used as fertiliser, their money will keep accumulating,
“At the end of the month, we’ll pay them based on the litres and kilogramme of what they have submitted to NALDA office at their various states before the off-takers take it.”
“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 states.
“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 that intend to rear rabbits to also register through the NALDA WhatsApp Group,” he added.
“The beauty about this is that it doesn’t have many hazards.
“It doesn’t require so much, rabbits virtually eat everything, and it doesn’t require too much space, so that 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.
“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 to.
“The meat is one of the best because it is white meat and it’s good for those that are having cholesterol issues.
“That also will be a source of income, then the hide, which is the skin, is also in high demand for designers,” he said.
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