22nd September, 2010
Grasscutter rearing can make you become gainfully employed. The farming can be startedÂ with as low as N45,000 according to Mr. Arinze Onebunne, an expert in grasscutterÂ rearing.
Onebunne owns Jovana Farms whose speciality is training, setting up grasscutter farms andÂ sales. Grasscutter farming is one of the new attractive areas in job creation in NigeriaÂ today. It is a great money-spinning business that can provide job opportunities for theÂ young and old, the educated or uneducated. If you want to be your own boss and you areÂ ready to work hard and get rich, grasscutter farming is for youâ€ he advised.
He emphasized that â€œif all hands are on deck, over a million jobs can be created inÂ grasscutter sector alone but Nigerians preference for white collar jobs led to theÂ neglect of this lucrative agricultural enterprise.”
I started rearing grasscutter 15 years ago. The business does not require millions ofÂ naira to execute. It can be started with just one family of grasscutter normally called aÂ colony which is sold for N40,000. A colony comprises one male and four females. They areÂ reared in a cage which can be constructed at a cost of N5,000 by any roadside carpenter.Â Therefore, with N45,000, you are already in good business. It is advisable to buy themÂ when they are four months old, which is the breeding stage. Grasscutter is odourlessÂ unlike fowls, rabbits, etc. Therefore, the cage can be placed anywhere in the compound orÂ even in the kitchen. In terms of feeding, it is not like fish farming or poultry farming,Â because grasscutter feed on grass.
In terms of yield, he explained, one female grasscutter can give birth to as many as fiveÂ to eight litters (babies) at once. I have even witness 12 at once on my farm. So insteadÂ of remaining unemployed, even an undergraduate can take a soft loan from a bank, friendÂ or family member and in a few months be able to pay back the loan and still remain inÂ business. For instance, if you start rearing now, in about four months, they will startÂ having litters because they mature for birth at eight months.
And if you do not have enough space for expansion, you can sell the babies, at the end ofÂ the day the four females give you five litters each, you have 20 litters. Invariably, youÂ only have to be patient for about eight months. And if they carry their babies for aboutÂ five months, you can start cross-breeding them for stronger breeds and in eight months,Â you start making profit. Grasscutter as meat is also high in demand. It already comes toÂ mind when people think of bush meat. Though for now, the price maybe on the high side,Â the nutritional value is enormous. It is white meat and has low or no cholesterols andÂ doctors highly recommend it for people with heart problems.
“Regrettably, one major challenge in grasscutter rearing is the technicalities involved.Â This is why we organize seminars and workshops all around the nation. We recommend thatÂ people come for proper training before going into the business. This is necessary becauseÂ I have witnessed instances where people start without proper training, only to shut downÂ when faced with technical challenges. But with proper training these challenges can beÂ avoided. With some training and adequate guidance, it can turn money spinner,” heÂ explained.
Onebunne said, when he started grasscutter business 15 years ago, he went as far as GabonÂ to get the initial stock. Today people do not need to look that far. Grasscutters areÂ readily available for supply now. “In addition, we have developed special breeds throughÂ research. We have also developed them according to their species and complied their data.Â All these we teach in our seminars and workshops,” he added.