In farming, as in any other business, there are those who succeed as well as those who fail. And those who always triumph are those who have studied their projects and have adopted the right strategies.
Just like the case of Willie and Jeannie Menor who own the Tierra del Menor, a diversified farm that raises farm animals and crops in Brgy. Tua, Magallanes, Cavite.
Their flagship animal of choice is rabbits. Although rabbits are considered as a minor species in the agenda of the government, the husband and wife have recognized the potential of the small animal as a money-maker. This is despite the fact that most Filipinos regard rabbits merely as pets and not as a source of meat for human consumption.
Nevertheless, the Menors are discovering now that there is a niche market for rabbit meat in high-end hotels and restaurants which are located in nearby Tagaytay City. One of them wants a weekly ration of 25 head that are four months old and are ready for slaughtering. The animals which weigh two to three kilos fetch a liveweight price of P200 per kilo. Dressed carcass, on the other hand, sells for P400 a kilo.
Then there is the fast emerging market for breeders. One company had earlier bought 145 breeders for its leisure farms in four places. Another has a pending order of 100 two-months-old breeders. And then there is a local government unit in Rizal province which will be dispersing some 2,000 breeders to households after undergoing training right at the Tierra Menor Farm. Oh yes, seminars are now being conducted for interested rabbit raisers so they will succeed in their projects.
Willie recalled that they committed a big mistake when they were just starting to raise rabbits. They thought of raising rabbits upon the suggestion of their daughter Daniell Sayra who loves rabbit stuffed toys. And so the obliging father bought 10 kits from a local store. The young animals, however, died one after the other after one week because they didn’t have the know-how in caring for the animals.
It was providential that Willie got hold of the Agriculture Magazine where Art and Angie Veneracion wrote a series on starting a rabbit raising project aimed at eventually producing rabbit meat for human consumption. They attended the Veneracions’ seminar in their farm in Baliuag, Bulacan and also obtained reading materials.
They didn’t buy their breeding stocks right away after attending the seminar. They made projections regarding raising rabbits as an agribusiness. They didn’t have much problem in planning a strategy to make their business work. After all, Willie is a CPA who previously worked in a bank. Eventually, he and a few relatives formed an accountancy consultancy firm.
THEIR WINNING STRATEGY – The Menor couple is so upbeat in their rabbit project because there is a continuous stream of customers visiting their farm who have to make appointments to visit every weekend. Practically all of them are interested to buy breeders.
They started their project in earnest by buying 10 2-month-old females and one buck from Art Veneracion in October 2015. They also bought stocks from other sources to avoid inbreeding. The breeders were mated starting when they were six months old, and from then on Willie said they have to construct new cages for their animals.
From their start in October 2015 and during the whole of 2016, they just kept increasing their stocks and did not sell anything. That way they were able to produce a big number for sale starting in January 2017. That was after a seminar on rabbit raising was conducted by Art Veneracion at the Tierra del Menor. Today, they have at least 250 female breeders that are producing 250 to 300 kits monthly. The number will increase fast as they are keeping more breeders. They are continually expanding their housing facilities.
They also learned to fabricate their own cages, enabling them to save as much as 50 percent of their cost. What is more important is that they also acquired purebred breeders to mate their stocks which were sourced from various local suppliers.
They have purebred Flemis h (a big breed for meat), New Zealand White, California White, Chinchilla, American Blue and American Sable. Then they also acquired some fancy breeds to cater to hobbyist-collectors who don’t mind paying a high price for them.
Willie has observed that by mating the purebred with the old stocks, they are able to produce bigger rabbits for meat. The eventual goal is to produce enough stocks for meat purposes. And that is why he is encouraging other enthusiasts to go into commercial production. When there will be enough production for the meat market, they could make packed rabbit meat available in supermarkets and other outlets.
By the way, the AANI Group will conduct a farm visit to the Tierra del Menor on August 26, 2017. Jocelyn Mahipus of AANI could be contacted at 0917-242-9785 for more information.