Hoima journalist taps oil money in rabbit farming

Andrew Kaahwa a.k.a Mega Mix in his rabbit farm at Mugoteka Cell in Kihombooza Ward, West Division in Hoima City. (Photo: Kazi-njema News).

One of Bunyoro’s renowned radio presenters, Andrew Kaahwa, commonly known by his studio name ‘Mega-mix’ has gained optimism in benefiting from the oil industry as oil production in the Albertine graben gets near, writes Kazi-njema News reporter.

Reaching Mugoteka Cell in Kihombooza Ward, West Division of Hoima City, I look at Kaahwa’s investment in cuniculture picking up rapidly for commercial reasons contrary to his initial idea of rearing the small animals as a rabbit fancier for pleasure and domestic consumption.

Cuniculture is the agricultural practice of breeding and raising domestic rabbits as livestock for their meat, fur, or wool.

I can see dozens of rabbits in hutches housed at a hilly topography overlooking Bakuumira Hill in the east and Mpanga Hill in the west.

There are also maize harvests in the premises and a small banana plantation on fertile soils whose fertility is promoted by manure from rabbits waste.

How Kaahwa sniffed rabbit market in the oil industry

“A friend of mine paid a visit to my home and got amazed when he saw some rabbits that I was rearing. He asked me, ‘Do you know that this is a commercially viable project you are sleeping on?’ he shared with me the business aspect and I also started developing it,”’ he said.

Mr Kaahwa started with four rabbits three years ago but now has nearly 100 alongside selling at least three rabbits per day. Each rabbit costs Shs25, 000 on average.

He, is however, not capable of supplying the current market and that is why he has also turned into a renowned rabbit buyer in Bunyoro region.

“I buy them from the villages to ensure that whenever clients come, they find me in position to serve them. Because I do not have the capacity to rear more than these much as I would like,” he added.

Known for his morning programme ‘Morning Delight’ at Spice FM, Kaahwa has been saving time outside radio work at the farm looking at how best he could supplement the salary he gets from the radio to meet his personal and family needs that do not wait for monthly payments.

He tested the oil market when he sold some rabbits to the Chinese under Chongqing International Construction Corporation contracted to construct the critical oil roads, the Hoima-Butyaba-Wanseko Road.

“They bought some 20 rabbits in total but I could not afford to sustain their demand. There I remembered what the officials from the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) have been talking about quality and quantity needed in the oil industry. That is why I worked to increase the number of rabbits by mobilising other local persons to rear them,” he narrated.

Audio: Kaahwa on market (English)

The Chinese asked him to supply them four rabbits daily but he did not have the capacity.

The market did not last long but it was enough for him to understand that it is possible for the local people to tap into the oil industry either directly or indirectly.

Narrating the beauty with rabbit farming

In rabbit farming, Kaahwa does not only sell rabbits for meat but also sells their urine used to manufacture herbicides and pesticides alongside manure used by crop farmers to boost soil fertility.

“A litre of rabbit urine costs Shs10, 000 in Kampala and as for now I can produce 15 litres at full capacity per day,” he says.

Kaahwa presents a programme in the studios of Spice FM in Hoima City. (Photo: Kazi-njema News).

Kaahwa told Kazi-njema News that he bought land at the city peripherals because it is where his financial muscle could allow him to secure a 100×100 ft piece of land for the project hoping that he would acquire more land and resources as the business grows.

Living Alinda, one of his employees does not regret abandoning the job of being a builder. He is assured of a daily income because of the availability on a variety of products to sell.

“There we would run sort of food when the products are not bought but here we have a lot to sell and we are assured of food as you can see bananas around and some maize cultivated here along with vegetables and chicken rearing. If rabbit customers do not come, we get those of urine or droppings,” he explains.

Audio: Aliinda on merits (Runyoro/Rutooro)
Aliinda attends to rabbits at Mugoteka Cell in Kihombooza Ward, West Division in Hoima City. (Photo: Kazi-njema News).

The journalist is now looking for at least Shs30m to set up a modern abattoir or slaughter house to improve the standard and be able to supply the oil and gas industry. In future he wants to start packing sausages and meat to be sold beyond the borders of Uganda.

According to Kaahwa, he has sold rabbits to more than 100 farmers who he has assured of the market.

Bernard Barugahara, the Senior Community Development Officer (CDO) for Buliisa district, says his office is working to sensitise communities to exploit every opportunity available to ensure that they can benefit from the oil and gas industry taking off in their home land instead of waiting for direct employment opportunities.

“I can also see opportunities in rabbit farming given their diverse bi-products but many people still look at rabbit farming in a traditional way for children,” he said.

Aggrey Mugume, the Enterprise Development Officer at the PAU says it is now than later that people must prepare for numerous opportunities coming with impending infrastructure development in preparation for oil production and production itself.

During a live broadcast on Biiso FM at Adonia Hotel in Buliisa town on Wednesday last week, Mugume said the government is determined to ensure that the local content question is a reality and helps Ugandans to benefit from the oil resource found on their land.

According to him, people of different nationalities and ethnicity coming with the oil and gas industry will need many types of meat and if they do not find eligible suppliers on the local market, they will have no option but to get them elsewhere which will be unfortunate.

Mugume encouraged associations and registration of companies for incorporation and also with the National Supplier Database of the PAU for eligibility to supply goods and services in the oil and gas industry.

A $20b investment will be made in Uganda’s oil and gas industry once the oil companies and government make a Final Investment Decision (FID), a step that has been impending since 2018.

Reports show that in Uganda rabbit farming is still very low compared to Kenya where they are even interacting with the international market by selling to countries like China.

If journalist Kaahwa sustains his idea of rabbit farming alongside his Animal Club Events that deals in events and Public Address System services, he will be among the few journalists in Bunyoro who are diversifying their income targeting the oil industry.

Kazi-njema News investigators have ascertained that the salaries paid to media practitioners alone can take decades to see they are economically emancipated given their celebrity life.

However, the investigators appreciate that many journalists have come up in the past three years to generate alternative sources of livelihood than depending on presentation and news reporting.

Some have invested in sugarcane plantation, Internet Café, cattle keeping, maize and banana growing and also being Public Relations Officers for institutions like schools. Some are offering consultancy services.

Kaahwa dries his maize at Mugoteka Cell in Kihombooza Ward, West Division in Hoima City. (Photo: Kazi-njema News).

Google info

Global statistics show that rabbit meat market revenue amounted to $6.4b in 2017, picking up by 12% against the previous year.

The country with the largest volume of rabbit meat consumption was China (925K tonnes), comprising approximately 62% of the total consumption as at May 16, 2019.

Religious impediments

The traditional Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church Christians and the Muslims do not entertain rabbits as it is to pigs and edible rats because they are classified under animals that do not chew the cud or have claw foot that were forbidden by God as clarified right from the Old Testament of the bible (Leviticus 11).

This belief somehow limits the market for rabbit meat though the Seventh Day Adventists and Muslims constitute a small percentage of the population in Uganda.

According to the 2014 National Census, 13.7 percent of Ugandans adhered to Islam whereas the Seventh Day Adventists church constitutes 1.7%.

1 COMMENT

  1. Mega is surely doing well in the cuniculture business.Iam as well working with him to set up and propel my project. The future of cuniculture is so bright.

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