Persistence and Perseverance
We have been breeding and raising rabbits now for over two years. Change is hard to make in this country so it has been a slow and some times hopeless road in getting people to see the benefits of rabbit raising and eating the meat. When everyone is just looking for a way to make money it has been disheartening to not get the message through that a person can feed their family healthy meat that is easy to raise with little cost in it. Much of the unused part of crops already grown can be used as food for the rabbits. It is very hard to understand why so many children are malnourished when they have chickens everywhere but each egg is sold to buy “Posho”, which is just a flour made out of maize having no nutritional value because mixed with water and made into a thin porridge it will go further. Even though one egg a day will benefit the children so much more. It is the same with the rabbits. Even if they have enough rabbits that they could sell and still eat meat every day they are going to try and sell each one. Education and getting fees paid for school is the main goal for everyone in our village. And that is important. But what they don’t get is if your child is malnourished they aren’t going to learn as well as when they are healthy and getting the vitamins and nutrients that they need.
The market for rabbits has been growing but very slowly. As for now there are more farmers in Uganda than there are buyers. But our neighbors in Kenya have been successful in the spread of eating rabbit meat and the Chinese can’t keep up with the demand for rabbit meat. So slowly there have been buyers from Kenya coming to buy rabbits in Uganda. A problem, as we faced, was everyone bred and had many rabbits with no buyers and not enough room to house more so they had to quit breeding. Then the buyers from Kenya come and are ready to contract with breeders to supply tons of meat each month and have bought up all there was available. So breeding has started again. But it takes about five months until rabbits are ready to be sold for meat. Our prayer is contracts can be kept as breeders are breeding and raising more rabbits to sell.
Just when I was praying whether to give it up, after two and a half years of not getting interest in our village, not selling even though many of my days were spent reaching out to everyone, including restaurants and supermarkets and not seeing results, God sent men from Kenya who want to work with us. Our main goal is to fight malnutrition but I would also like for the rabbit farm to bring in enough money to pay the workers that care for them. Whatever money we can bring in through the rabbits is money that can go to hiring more workers and helping our neighbors with different projects. It would be awesome to make our farm self-sustaining and the rabbit farm is one of the ways we are trying to accomplish this.
We have had a sign of hope over the last week, a group of eleven people from a neighboring village came and would like to form a co-op raising rabbits for food and profit and would like training. This has been one of our goals also, to train others so that they can be successful. They will be coming back for training and help in choosing crops to plant and how to build cages. We have been successful in growing all of our own crops and making our own pellets for the rabbits. So we will be able to make pellets for them with the crops they grow.
Even though there have been times when I’ve wanted to give up I’ve held onto the knowledge that God gave me this idea and He will not let me down. Not everything happens in the timing we would like but when you know God is in it persistence and perseverance will pay off in furthering His kingdom. And just when you are at your end He takes over and gives you hope!