By Tara Capsuto, KF13, Kenya

This blog really is about giant bunnies. It’s also about asset financing and how loan groups are working together, with the help of Juhudi Kilimo (one of Kiva’s field partners) to raise rabbits and boost their incomes. Juhudi provides an innovative, agriculture-based, micro-asset financing loan product to assist smallholder farmers in acquiring productive assets such as dairy cows, chickens, irrigation equipment, and most recently, giant Flemish rabbits.

Juhudi Kilimo’s rabbit loans are a great example of a microfinance institution’s (MFI’s) response to local market demands. Juhudi currently has 3 loan groups raising rabbits, in the Murang’a area (in Kenya’s Central Region). They started encouraging clients and potential clients to raise rabbits because a market for rabbit meat has developed in the area over the past couple of years. How Juhudi administers the rabbit loans benefits their clients in several ways.

First, Juhudi works to connect borrowers with suppliers of Flemish rabbits and Ministry of Agriculture officials who provide instruction on rabbit breeding, raising, and slaughtering. Second, Juhudi helps connect the rabbit farming groups with one another. For example, members of the Alpha Option Rabbit Breeders and the Alpha Option Rabbit Fatteners, two loan groups work together on the various phases of rabbit raising, even sharing one “stud rabbit” between the two groups. Thirdly, bunny loans are a great starter loan for first time clients. A client can get started raising rabbits with 5,000-10,000 Kenya shillings ($62 to $124). For both first time and returning borrowers the assets that Juhudi finances act as an alternative form of collateral in case of default, reducing the farmers’ risk of over-indebtedness.  Here’s what one of Juhudi’s rabbit farmers had to say about his experience:

Q & A with Quintino Maina Waithaka, member of Alpha Option Rabbit Breeders Group

Were you raising rabbits before you received your loan from Juhudi? Before my loan, I was raising a lower quality breed of rabbit. Now I raise giant Flemish rabbits, which can grow up to 7-9 kilos  With my loan of 10,000ksh, and a bit of my savings, I bought 5 Flemish rabbits for 3,000Ksh each. The smaller breeds of rabbit cost about half the price but they earn a much lower return at the market.  Flemish rabbits are large enough to sell at the market in 6 months and I can get up to 46,000Ksh ($568) for 1 giant rabbit, or I can sell the rabbits for breeding after 2 or 2.5 months. Before rabbit farming I just kept cows and chickens. Rabbits are much more profitable, and they’re easier to raise because they don’t take up much space and they eat a lot less food.

What have you found most challenging about breeding and raising rabbits? In November, 21 of my rabbits died; I lost of lot of money. I learned from the agriculture officer and a more experienced rabbit farmer that they got too cold. Now I built covers for all of their cages.

You seem to really enjoy the rabbits. Have you gotten attached to any and been unable to sell or slaughter her? Ha! Well, there’s one who has a good character. She was very tiny before so I named her Kanini, which means “little one” and I kept her as a pet.

How would you like to expand your rabbit farming in the next several years?  Will you request another loan from Juhudi? I will build the house of rabbits! I want to build multi-story cages for the rabbits. In the future I’d like to request a loan to buy a water tank for the rabbits, which will allow me to take care of many more rabbits – I’d like to have up to 100, right now I only have 9. I have 6 kids, the youngest is 6 months, and the eldest is 22 years old so I’m just trying to grow my income as much as possible. I always have lots of projects in mind for how I will continue expanding my business.

At the moment,  Juhudi’s rabbit farmers are not posted on Kiva, but they hope to add some in the future.  Watch out for the giant rabbits (and their owners) on Kiva. In the meantime, make a loan to one of Juhudi Kilimo’s clients today!

To learn more about Juhudi Kilimo check out their partner page on Kiva here or watch this short video that explains more about how this innovative organization works.

Click to view slideshow.

Tara Capsuto is a roaming fellow in Nairobi, Kenya nearing the end of her 6-month Kiva fellowship. When she’s not interviewing rabbit farmers she’s eating as many delicious Kenyan mangoes as possible before leaving the country.


Comments

Congraculation for the work you are doing. my question is, I need to start a new rabbit keep here I am now. do you have ready market? second: Do you have particular people who get this loan? third: where is juhudi kilimo? Thanks

Wow, I must commend you on the good job you're doing here. How can I go about acquiring the said breed of rabbits? is it really true that you can make upto Ksh40,000 on a good one? & lastly is there an available export market for rabbit meat & if so how can one go about it? I will really appreciate your feedback, ahsante in advance & keep up the good work.

I like the good work you are doing!Why do i get these rabbit breeds?would you email me information on rabbit rearing,breeds,diseases,how to care for the rabbits,about ready markets-both local and export,rules and regulations involving marketing.I am interested and want to get into this business.I will appreciate your feedback,thanks.

thanx 4 da gud job.plz how do l start this business.e.g where to get rabbit for farming

I'm so eager to start rabbit farming.where can I get quality breeds, is there ready market locally,is the climate in Nyanza favourable?

thanks for the good work.i live in kitengela and i really want to put rabbits .let me know how to go about it

This is quite an interesting venture that I would like to get into and would appreciate info on where to get the bunnies and how to rear them. can they be raised in Webuye, Bungoma county?

Please am a nigerian i have rabbit about 50 big once please that my email, this my number 2347056669206 that my line, if anyone one needs more just give me call or email.if you dont mind can i too take loan

Please am a nigerian i have rabbit about 50 big once please that my email, this my number 2347056669206 that my line, if anyone one needs more just give me call or email.if you dont mind can i too take loan

I am a resident of Kakamega County ,Western Kenya , am interested in rabbit farming,but is there ready market for them

i would like to know where i can get the breed and market of the product.

im a small scale rabbit farmer at machakos junction already have 10 rabbits. i would to expand hoe do i get in touch for more breeds and market

where can i sell rabbits.(market) from busia

am in cherangany and i need a high bread rabbit

I have kept some rabbits in Machakos and i would like to increase the number kindly get in touch with me for i need a loan to enhance the project.

I also want to start a rabbit keeping business next month, but am wondering...... where will i sell them when they are ready or big? Kindly we need someone to answer all those questions asked above.They are all pretty serious querries.

Thanks for the work you are doing.Can I get market for local breeds?Can i get bunny loans without any collateral?

How much do u sell, i'm a nigerian.. Need 3 flemish giant..

I need flemish giants

Where can I get New Zealand and California Rabbits in Busia

Am A Small Scall Rabbit Farmer From Ugunja,where Can I Get The Market?

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