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NorMin rabbitry has the ability to aid in food security.

Every Friday, the “Farmers’ Market” on the Misamis Oriental government grounds is bustling with agricultural produce and cattle for sale.

The Misamis Oriental Rabbit Breeders and Raisers (MORBR) group, which promotes rabbit meat as a protein alternative, is one of the innovative groups marketing products.

They sell processed rabbit meat in the form of “tapa” (dry-cured meat) and “lumpia” (spring roll) in packs of 400 grams for PHP150 to PHP350.

According to Sheena Mae Jamis, who tended the booth, the organization also offers “tocino” (sweet cured beef), but it was not available on their debut day on Friday.

With the support of another breeder in Maramag, Bukidnon, they began producing rabbit processed food.

Most of their promotion and operations were done online through Facebook before getting a space at the capitol market.

MORBR was founded in 2021 and currently has 30 members from the Misamis Oriental region and this city, but their Facebook group has grown to over 1,200 breeders and rabbit meat connoisseurs.

With the advent of African swine disease and avian influenza, the provincial administration and veterinary office have thrown their support behind the prospective alternative to pork and chicken.

The most difficult obstacle is public acceptability, as rabbits are generally kept as adorable pets.

In an interview on Saturday, MORBR vice president Reynan Recimilla said, “One of our (MORBR) key goals is public acceptability so that we can promote the benefits of rabbit meat and assist others start their livelihood.”

The law of supply and demand

Recimilla stated that as a recently founded club, they are concentrating on attracting more breeders in order to reach their supply goals.

He said in the vernacular, “The demand (for rabbit meat) may not be that great yet, but we are already short on supply.”

Willie Nacalaban, a senior science research specialist with the Department of Agriculture’s Northern Mindanao Agricultural Crops and Livestock Research Complex in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, said that raisers in the region must provide at least 640 kilograms of rabbit meat per day to meet the region’s regular demand.

“For the time being, we’re concentrating on expanding our resources because most raisers don’t have enough meat to meet demand,” Nacalaban said in an interview.

He gave the example of a raiser in Maramag, Bukidnon, who served roasted rabbit cooked like “lechon” (roast pig), but had to slow down for a while because to a lack of supply.

While the number of rabbit farmers in Bukidnon is increasing, only a few, according to Nacalaban, have animal numbers exceeding 100.

Raising rabbits is faster and less expensive than raising other animals, especially in terms of nutrition.

“You spend two kilograms of feed every day on hogs, which works out to PHP30 per kilo. With rabbits, you only use about 50 grams of concentrate on average (pellets). A kilo of food can keep you going for weeks “According to Nacalaban.

While rabbits may eat grass, he claims that supplementing their diet with pellets will increase their development and reproductive health.

Rabbit meat is high in nutrients and low in fat and cholesterol, according to the DA.

Future raisers are being educated.

MORBR also wants to train breeders, according to Recimilla, and is seeking help from the DA and the provincial government.

“We need to update our skills through seminars so that we have more opportunities and greater chances in this line of work,” he explained.

Jamis and other self-taught rabbit raisers learnt proper rabbit care and meat preparation via online video lessons.

Programs relating to rabbitry are already in existence, according to Nacalaban, but training opportunities have yet to materialize due to a lack of raisers.

“We can give them if there is a desire to hold a course [on rabbitry]. All they have to do now is write us a letter “he stated

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