A farmers training centre in Taita Taveta is counting losses after 45 hybrid rabbits were killed by safari ants last week.
The rabbits, whose value is yet to be established, were being used for training at the Ngerenyi Farmers Training Centre in Mwatate. According to the institutions Principal Bernard Mwololo, the rabbits hatch was invaded at night by safari ants.
Mwololo said the loss is a big blow to reviving rabbit farming which was once a boom in the region. He said the project is meant to benefit local small scale farmers and improve their economic livelihoods. "This means going back to square one in the project because only a few were spared," he said.
Some of the breeds bred at the institution include Flemish Giant, New Zealand-White and California White. "We sell small rabbits at Sh500 each to interested farmers. Our main aim is to ensure that local farmers do not miss these breeds," he said. Mwololo said rabbit farming was gaining momentum in the country due to high demand in both the local and international markets. "We breed the rabbits locally since its expensive for the farmers to get them from abroad," he said.
The centre also offers technical support to farmers and also trains them on market trends. Mwololo called on local farmers to embrace the project since its cheap and requires little space but has higher returns financially. "This is the best type of farming in this area where land is rapidly becoming scarce following the population increase," he said.