For us at Jovana Farms, raising grasscutter has become second nature. The production of the animal gives farmers a big chance to increase their income and offers an alternative means of livelihood to urban and rural farmers in addressing poverty. It is for these that we have launched an initiative to promote grasscutter rearing as a suitable occupation that can contribute to food security, wealth and employment creation.
Grasscutter production is emerging as a productive enterprise since it is being reared in small units and is very prolific. In term of value addition, grasscutter meat can be used in many forms- Sold in butcheries, restaurants and used to prepare different delicacies such as pepersoup, suya, pies and sausages. The breeding families of one male and four females is sold for N45,000. The grasscutter is a member of rodent family and they are prolific breeders. Their rate of production is faster than that of cows, goats and sheep. Grasscutters have gestation period of 152 days.
A breeding doe (female) can produce at least two litters yearly with an average of seven babies; that is, 14 kits per doe yearly if you manage them under good conditions. A robust and thriving grasscutter meat industry would have an enormous impact on and add value to the economy.
It would not only offer up opportunities for major investors to start and grow large meat processing companies, and thereby contribute to employment creation, but it also opens up avenues for the lucrative trade in smoke meat export.
What is more, the industry would transform the fortunes of many small producers and leverage assets for the poor. Others who would benefit from the spin off in the value chain are the manufacturers of animal feeds, distributors, stockists, butcheries, resturanteurs etc. Besides, the consumption of grasscutter meat has many benefits; the animal has the highest protein percentage and it is one of the most nutritious meats known to man.
We are training and helping more farmers to make it in grasscutter farming and we are also building a value chain. The success in raising grasscutter for profit is determined by three things: a good breeding programme, proper equipment and good care.
Raising grasscutter for meat is a good way to make money. At present, some farmers do it to make supplementary income. The initial cost of setting up is small; grasscutters breed twice yearly, they have large litters and grow to a marketable size for food in twelve months.
However, it is a part-time job with grasscutter care and good feeding needed. Like any other business, if one wants to make profit with grasscutter one needs to assess the market. Grasscutter will continue to make money for one as long as one maintains good breeding stock.
A good doe can breed at the age of six months and if conditions are ideal, she can breed two times a year. Breeding does are usually kept for four years before they are slaughtered. On the average, they can give birth to 56 young ones in four years.
The males that are not going to be used for reproduction should be fattened and kept until they weigh about 3-5kg each before they are butchered. This takes about twelve to eighteen months. Raising grasscutter has an excellent by product for garden and veggie patch. Grasscutter manure is good for the compost heap. To establish a dynamic and viable grasscutter breeding industry, it is critical that a training and development programme is put in place.
This is the reason we are striving to help entrepreneurs. And over the past three years, we have received more requests from individuals, seeking to take advantage of the new business opportunity.
Jovana farms organizes nationwide sensitization training seminars on the practical ways of making it through small scale farming. Attend our nationwide seminars nearest to you and know more opportunities in grasscutter farming. Visit www.jovanafarm.com or www.facebook.com/jovanafarm for more details. Choose also the nearest venue from the adverts box in this page.