After graduating with a degree in Human Resource from JKUAT university, Maureen Wanyaga’s journey didn’t lead her to the typical corporate desk job.
Instead, it guided her to the unexpected yet immensely rewarding realm of rabbit farming.
As a fresh graduate facing a competitive job market, Maureen’s mind was set on entrepreneurship.
She knew the nine-to-five office routine wasn’t her calling.
After much soul-searching, her childhood memories of savoring rabbit meat, a delicacy introduced to her by her guardian, ignited a unique business idea – rabbit farming.
It was a venture that promised both challenge and fulfillment, and Maureen was ready for the leap.
The 29-year-old said that her love for rabbits dates back to when she was in high school. Then, her guardian would frequently bring home rabbit meat.
“After enrolling in campus, I knew I wanted to start a business but I was not sure which one,” she says.
As she pondered on what kind of business she would do, she started vending lollipops in campus. After a while and with support from her elder sister, she bought her first motorbike that would help her run her business errands.
She used the bike also to commute from home to the Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology where she was studying. When she was leaving university, she had bought three motorcycles from her business, and had saved at least Sh50,000, an amount that helped her set up the rabbit business.
“I graduated in 2015 and as I was trying to get a footing in after-school life, I started looking for a job. I tarmacked for six months, but did not secure a job,” she said, adding that this is when she started getting serious about rearing rabbits.
She began with five bunnies at their Kahawa Sukari residence on the outskirts of Nairobi, and within six months the rabbits had multiplied to 60.
This success didn’t come without hurdles.
A devastating setback occurred when a mongoose attack claimed nearly half of her rabbits.
Despite this setback, Maureen’s determination remained unbroken.
The move to relocate her venture to her rural home in Muthinga, Tetu Constituency, proved to be a strategic decision.
“Doing business in Nairobi is very expensive. So I decided to move and do my business in Tetu,” she claimed.
Her venture wasn’t just about breeding rabbits for meat; it was a comprehensive approach to sustainable agriculture.
Maureen’s passion for rabbit farming was contagious.
Beyond selling rabbit meat, she diversified her income streams by selling rabbit droppings and urine as organic manure.
The benefits of rabbit manure in agriculture are well-known; it enriches the soil and enhances crop yields.
Her dedication to sustainable farming practices didn’t stop there. Maureen collected 2,000 liters of urine daily, which local farmers utilized as a natural pesticide, further promoting eco-friendly agriculture in her community.
Educating her community about the nutritional benefits of rabbit meat became a mission for Maureen.
Despite the prevailing reluctance among people to consume rabbit meat, she passionately advocated for its consumption.
Rabbit meat is not only rich in proteins but also boasts low calories, making it an ideal choice for health-conscious consumers.
Her efforts didn’t go unnoticed; she managed to introduce rabbit meat into small joints in Nyeri town, gradually expanding her market.
Currently managing a thousand rabbits, her ambitions know no bounds. She aspires to expand her farm to accommodate 5,000 rabbits within the year.
To overcome the challenge of expensive rabbit feed, Maureen plans to attract investors who share her vision of sustainable and ethical farming practices.