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‘We crossbreed grasscutters for higher yield’

It’s nice to be here again. How is life and business? Fine, I guess you’d say. Do you remember the Ebola and certain bush meat story? It’s now clear to everybody that grasscutter has no connection with Ebola after all the gossip! This rumour is circulated by the ignorant and lazy people! If you are a regular reader of this column you will agree that I have done a lot of explanation on this Ebola issue.

*Onebunne with grasscutters

According to Animal Farm Consultant/ Managing Director, Jovana Farms, Prince Arinze Onebunne, grasscutter meat once called the “the king of bush meat” and still treated as a delicacy; can be taken regularly as part of the healthy human diet. It is a high-priced tasty meat, that the health-conscious and affluent find interesting. Again! It’s not among the bush meats that carries Ebola. The W.H.O had said ‘’the virus is transmitted to people from wild fruit bats, gorillas, monkeys and chimpanzee.” Moreover, it’s a human being that brought Ebola into Nigeria from Liberia and not grasscutter. We thank God that the Ebola outbreak has been curtailed and contained in the country.

Onebunne said, the fast population growth and the associated increase in demand for animal products present many development opportunities. Grasscutter farming will become the biggest contributor to agriculture in coming decades, with consumption of animal-based foods the fastest growing sub-food category in Africa.”

In addition, he said that in order to effectively and successfully raise grasscutter, it is crucial to explore and understand the characteristic nature of the animal. Although many varieties have been described, they belong to two different species: smaller grasscutter (Thryonomys Gregorianus), and larger grasscutter (Thryonomys Swinderianus) which is of greater size and can weigh up to 10kg or more at adulthood and it has a head-and-body length of up to 60cm.

Grasscutters can be subdivided into two categories, the docile and indocile grasscutters. The docile grasscutter adapts well to life in confinement and becomes accustomed to man quickly, whereas the indocile grasscutter are difficult to tame.

“At JOVANA FARMS, we’re crossbreeding grasscutters with many speckled-brown Swinderianus from Gabon and Central African Republic; the fur is extremely coarse, firm, and briskly-reflecting the animal’s kingship to the porcupine. We crossbreed them with our local breeds with short stocky legs, a short rat-like tail clothed with spiny hairs, which look like short soft quills.

The cross breeding is in two aspects, we allow the pure breed to breed among themselves to have more pure lines and then mix them up with the locals for the cross breeds. Cross breeding is the mating of animals with unrelated genes, which belongs to the same species. It is used to inject new genes into the flock, the advantages may include fast growth rate, heavier breeds, resistance to diseases, fertility rate, high meat yield, etc.

You can get started, without the costly items the so-called experts say you should have. With N45,000, N50,000 to N60,000 one can kick-off with one-male and four-females depending on the age, weight and specie. They can be reared in wooden cage which costs N10, 000.

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