The management of Gbele Resource Reserve under the Wild Life Division of the Forestry Commission of Ghana has introduced and organized a training program for selected fringe communities in rabbit farming as an alternative livelihood source.
The training event took place at the Tuderidep conference hall and on the 11th February 2021
The event saw in attendance about 20 participants from 8 communities such as Tumu, Welembelle ,Santie, Jijen,Timmie, Duwie, Dasima and Silbelle and all in both Sissala East Municipal and Sissala West District of the Upper West Region of Ghana.
- This program was organized under the theme: ‘’Transforming Poachers to Adopt Alternatives Livelihood as a means to Alleviate Bush meat Crisis and Reduce Poaching in Protected Areas’’.
According to management of Gbele Resource Reserve, the intervention seeks to engage fringe communities in an alternative livelihood source and hence rabbit farming carefully selected as a sustainable option as those communities served as breeding grounds for poachers’ in an attempt for them to irk out living especially during the dry season where farming is almost impossible and thus their destructive activities on the existence of wild life species in the reserve.
In an opening remarks made by the park manager in the person of Dr.Nana Owusu Ansah, he bemoaned the change in visibility of wild life animals in the outskirt of communities as it used to be whenever one was travelling especially wild rabbit popularly known as Togo hare. The environmental destructive attitude of poachers or hunters using bush burning as a way of trapping wild animals either for sale or for family meat and thus a source for family protein.
The park manager charged beneficiaries as well as participants of the program to inject seriousness into the intervention since rabbit farming from all indication is a lucrative business as taste for rabbit meat has increased among Ghanaians.
He further went on to disclose that as a rabbit farmer himself, Kumasi market is an avenue to sell rabbit meat since demand has always exceeded supply and thus living the market to be craving for more rabbit meat.
Dr.Nana Owusu Ansah concluded his opening remarks for the event by reiterating participants to be also be cognizance of wild life laws as failure to do so can land culprits on the wrong side of the law. He however also charged beneficiaries to learn from experienced rabbit farmers who fortunately also happened to be part of the program for sake of sustaining the venture.
According to the deputy park manager who is also a specialist in veterinary, Dr. Maabier Polycap, Research shows that, approximately 1.2 billion rabbits are slaughtered each year for meat Worldwide and besides, that the global meat market revenue amounted to 56.4 billion in the year 2017.He further added that, medically, some category of sick person such as diabetic patients, Obese persons and so forth are usually recommended to take rabbit meat for its health benefits.
Dr Polycap been the lead trainer, took participants through the rudiments of rabbit farming such as where to source for first breeds, what type of housing, how to clean their place of abode, feed sources available, health challenges and their prevention or treatment, how to raise a business plan, record keeping and even channel of marketing the rabbit both within and beyond the areas of participants.
He disclosed in his presentation that, 25 fringe communities surrounding the Gbele Resource Reserve will be benefiting from the intervention but will depend on the seriousness of the first few selected beneficiaries and communities.
There was a ten minutes show of a video documentary of one popular rabbit farmer in Kenya whose activities have caught the eyes of the World with his multi-grade style of farming or the combination of gardening and rabbit rearing. Two experienced rabbit farmers among participants also shared their experience and encouraged others to make judicious use of the intervention offered by Wild Life division of the Forestry Commission.
Dr.Polycap ended his training session by admonishing on all beneficiaries to be good ambassadors of the intervention as plans are far advanced to scale-up the intervention to other communities. He mentioned some market channels available in the area such as Jirapa Dubai Hotel in Jirapa, Mole National Park Motel, Zaina Lodge, Gateway Travellers Lodge in Tumu and also added that, avenues such as rabbit shows can be organized for the sole purpose of marketing rabbit meat.
At the end of the training, there was a short handing over ceremony where, some rabbits for a start were presented to 15 beneficiaries from different communities in both Sissala East Municipal and Sissala West District. The break –down goes as, Santie Communitie -1,Jijen Community -2,Timmie Comminity -3,Duwie Community-1,Dasima Community -2 and then two participants also received a cage housing ,one person from Welembelle community and another person from Silbelle community.