21st June, 2013
By Prince Arinze Onebunne
In Africa, Nigeria is the largest importer of frozen fish (FDF, 2002) and requires approximately 1.5million tons of fish and meat annually to meet demand.
Currently, domestic supply is about 0.5 million tons (Over 30% of demand) including massive importation which gulps over N20 billion annually. Preliminary market analysis according to IFC suggests that an additional 25,000 tons or 100% increase in current production can be easily absorbed.
Cattle which could have been another major source of protein, is being drained by desert encroachment, pest attacks and other factors.
Mini-Livestock production like grasscutter, guinea pig, Porcupine, snail and rabbit is thus placed on the spotlight as the best option for food security in the country today.
Grasscutter farming is a profitable business with high probability of recouping original investment. Consequently, expansion in grasscutter farming will not only generate jobs and income for farmers, but will also create small-scale business for market mammies and restaurants.
The grasscutter-raising business is adaptable to any location. Many owners use shed, backyard, and old barns as sites for grasscutter hutch. With the Red-Meat situation what it is and the economy in turmoil now is a good time to consider the grasscutter business. The best way I know to put good food on the table and a more naira in your pocket without a large investment, is raising grasscutters. The Profits can come in many ways: you can sell your grasscutters live or smoked to restaurants, the manure for fertilizer to horticulturist or for worm growing, even the breeding family of one-male and four-females can bring huge money. The white-meat, however, is by far the most important product.
The business of grasscutter farming in Nigeria is growing at a feverish pitch attracting entrepreneurs who are considering it either as a complimentary business proposition or as a main and sustainable revenue stream. But either proposition has potentials to earn decent returns. This could be taken to be a fair confirmation of the position that, run professionally, grasscutter farming may well be a key wealth creation engagement to consider in the country.Local demand for grasscutter meat is increasing as the people become more health conscious by avoiding the consumption of red meat. Demand for grasscutter meat is not being met as of today. Farmers who are already into grasscutter farming also confirm that they are not yet meeting the high demand for grasscutter meet by cosumers.
Grasscutter is a member of the rodent family. The main reason grasscutter are now being preferred by some farmers for rearing purposes is because it is easy to house and you don’t buy food for them like you do in poultry, fish and pig farming. They are very prolific a animal, that is they can produce many litters. In this category, they are next to pigs and rabbit.
A female grasscutter of good specie can litter up to 16 babies in a year. Other advantages are that they are efficient converters of wide range of vegetables and grass matters into meat, they have a rearing period of 24 to 26 weeks and they have a high rate of ailment resistance. Grasscutters are reared mainly for their meat and the meat is white meat like that of rabbit, snail and chicken. They make good healthy meat, which is averagely delicious and more nutritious than any other meat. The meat is tender, palatable and not fatty. This type of meat is recommended for patient with cardiac problems, diabetes and high blood pressure.
You can get started, without the costly items the so-called experts say you should have. With N45,000 one can kick-off with one male and four females depending on the age, weight and specie. They can be reared in wooden cages which costs N7,000 to N10,000, therefore with N55,000 one is already in business.
You can put many naira in your pocket from just 30 minutes work a day, grasscutter farming is good business.
Jovana farms organizes nationwide sensitization training seminars on the practical ways of making it through small scale farming. Attend our nationwide seminars nearest to you and know more opportunities in grasscutter farming. Visit www.jovanafarm.com or www.facebook.com/jovanafarm or call 08033262808, 08029373076 for more details.