Like other types of farming practices that exist, rabbit farming is not without its challenges and rocky roads. Below are some of the issues facing rabbit farming in Nigeria:
1. Climate –
One of the major climatic factors affecting rabbit farming in Nigeria, especially in the tropics is heat. High temperatures have been discovered to greatly disturb the normal body function of rabbits and even impair reproduction. This is because rabbits depend on respiratory evaporation for the regulation of their body temperature. Rabbits with lots of furs most especially suffer more because it is usually difficult for them to dissipate heat than those with short hair and larger ears.
2. An outbreak of infection and diseases –
When rabbits are not properly cared for or their environment not well maintained, there could be an outbreak of infection and diseases among rabbits. Diseases such as infectious myxomatosis, ringworm, pasteurellosis, coccidiosis, mange, etc. are common diseases that affect rabbits. Some affect the skin and fur, others affect the intestines. This, if not early detected and treated can lead to a massive loss or reduction in the quality of rabbits produced.
3. No access to modern technology –
This has been one of the long-standing problems of agriculture in Nigeria and Africa. Lack of modern technology impedes the advancement of rabbit farming in Nigeria and makes it difficult for commercial rabbit farming to be practiced in the country.
4. Unavailability of specified breeding stock –
Since rabbit farming in the country is still relatively new as compared to other livestock farming, some breeds could be unavailable or difficult to locate within the country.
5. Poor dissemination of information and ILLITERACY –
In some of the areas where rabbit farming is practiced, farmers find it difficult to get access to information and materials that could help improve rabbit production. Illiteracy is also a big issue as most farmers in Nigeria are uneducated and unaware of these informational materials and tools that could improve their farming practices.
To solve these issues:
- Rabbits should be kept in a clean and cool environment that is property aerated at all times. They should also be given clean and sufficient water always to help cool their body temperature.
- The rabbits should also be kept in cages and spaced out to facilitate easy movement and prevent the quick spread of diseases.
- Be at alert and carefully watch out for any signs of infection and disease.
- Feed with quality feed and the right amount of feed as instructed.
- Participation in agriculture, agricultural practices or investment should be encouraged by both the government and the citizens to facilitate advancement in the field.
In conclusion, rabbit farming is of great economic importance to the nation and individuals. Not only does it make more food available to the citizens, but it is also a good source of income, serves as a lucrative business venture and facilitates job creation amongst youths. It should be encouraged and greatly promoted to increase participation both in the farming aspect, marketing aspect, and investment aspect.
More sensitization should be done with favorable agricultural policies created which can lead to advancement in rabbit farming.