Business Reporter
Raymeg Holdings Limited, a corporate member of Zimbabwe Commercial Rabbit Breeders Association (ZICORBA), this month started distributing pure rabbit breeds to ZICORBA members as efforts to improve the country’s rabbit genetic stock gather pace.

The launch of the programme, expected to distribute about 2 000 pure breeds over 12 months, coincided with the first anniversary of ZICORBA, which is the only collective voice of rabbit farmers in Zimbabwe.

ZICORBA was launched in July 2021. To date, ZICORBA members in Masvingo, Mashonaland East and Midlands have received the pure breeds.  The breeds were imported from South Africa recently under a Government approved and supervised programme.

ZICORBA’s first president Regis Nyamakanga said when launching the organisation last year, they were fully aware of the huge effort it would take to grow the rabbit industry in Zimbabwe, especially following the outbreak of Covid-19.

“When we launched ZICORBA, we were under no illusion that it was going to be a ‘walk-in-the-park’.  We knew that we had to contend with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Memories were still fresh in peoples’ minds about the collapse of a rabbit association that had been formed in Zimbabwe a few years back. We also knew that the prevailing economic challenges in Zimbabwe would militate against our efforts at starting something new.  But we were determined to forge ahead.

“Against this background, we took a deliberate position to craft a strategy of  breathing life back into the rabbit farming sub-sector. The strategy is anchored on three key pillars — Production, Processing and Marketing.

“We developed a detailed action plan that we have been implementing with sufficient gusto,” the ZICORBA chief said.

“To date, we have established ZICORBA Chapters in each of the country’s 10 provinces. Each ZICORBA Chapter has a seven-member executive lead by a Chapter president.  At the national level, we have a national Executive led by the national president.

“The national and provincial leadership were elected at the Association’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) and in terms of our constitution, which was developed and approved by paid-up members of ZICORBA,” he said.

ZICORBA employs 14 full-time staff, including the national coordinator; 10 provincial coordinators and youth ambassadors, a communication officer, a website master and a training coordinator.

“Although our members pay joining fees and monthly subscriptions, we took a deliberate position, which was endorsed at the Association’s AGM, that this money would not be used for the next two years.

“We convinced our corporate members, Raymeg Holdings Private Limited (Raymeg) and Midesha Private Limited (Midesha) to fund the Association’s activities for 24 months,” Mr Nyamakanga said.

The ZICORBA leadership negotiated with stock feed companies namely Agrifoods, National Foods and Capital Foods for discounts on rabbit pellets for the benefit of its members. This helped in lowering the cost of production.

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