What do you know about Grasscutter?

I didn’t know there was an animal called Grasscutter, to begin with. To me, they were glorified rats classified largely into two: Bushmeat and Bush rats, which people ate and affirmed their sweetness. I didn’t even know they could be reared, I used to think a trap was enough, and the biggest shocker of all, I didn’t know there was any monetary or economic value attached to these species of animals.

Just in case you are/were in my shoes, wondering what’s special about Grasscutters and what these weird rats have to offer, permit me to enlighten you (as I was enlightened) on the benefits of grasscutters:

Grasscutters belongs to the rodent family and are also called the Greater Cane Rat. However, in Africa and Nigeria most especially, they’re popularly known as ‘Bush Meat’. They occur in grasslands or wooded savanna throughout the humid and sub-humid areas of Africa south of the Sahara. They often live in forest-savanna habitats where the grass is present and are adaptable to most tropical vegetation. They can also be found in farmlands, sugarcane plantations, oil palm plantations, and creeks. 

Cane rats live in small groups led by a single male. They are nocturnal and often make nests from grasses or burrow underground. There are generally harmless animals and quite heavy, though small. They can grow to nearly 2fts in length and weigh a little less than 8.6kg. The spiny fur on their backs and rounded nose differentiates Grasscutters from true rats.

 It is also not surprising that they have very high nutritional content and they’re consumed in homes and used to prepare special delicacies like pepper soup in bars, restaurants, hotels, relaxation centers, etc.

IMPORTANCE

  • Grasscutter meat contains a very high nutritional value with about 22.7% crude protein content as compared to 19.25% crude protein in chicken and 18.25% in beef.
  • Grasscutter meat is in high demand because of its unique taste, in most countries in West Africa. It ranks amongst the top five most demanded meat in Africa. The meat is given more attention in the market, so much so it is more expensive than poultry or beef. This makes Grasscutter farming a highly lucrative business, especially when practiced on a commercial scale.
  • The cost of production in rearing these grasscutters is also relatively low and not as capital intensive as compared to other livestock. One can start a small scale grasscutter farming with as low as NGN 50,000. This is mainly because grasscutters are herbivorous animals (this makes them easy to feed). They feed mainly on the soft parts of grasses and shrubs like elephant grass, sweet potatoes, etc. They also feed on sugarcane, cassava, yams and fruits like pineapple, mango, pawpaw and enjoy food crops like legumes, maize, rice, etc.
  • They’re also highly reproductive because they live in colonies. They’re usually bred in groups of four or five with one male and three or four females for a year. The females, after gestation, carry their pregnancy for 140 – 150 days and can deliver between 4 – 7, or even 10 offspring in one year. They can only deliver twice a year. From these, one can get an estimate of 40 – 60 Grasscutters and each can go for as high as NGN 4500 – NGN 6500.
  • They’re relatively easy to rear and less stressful as compared to other livestock farming because grasscutters majorly feed on grass and do not require so much space.

Lucky for us all, Menorah Farms is involved in the breeding of grasscutters and would be opening a farm especially for grasscutter rearing for us to invest. We don’t want to miss this interesting farming season coming up. Kindly visit www.menorahfarms.com for more information on grasscutter farming.