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Aklan farmers shift to rabbit production as a food alternative but…

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KALIBO, Aklan- Several farmers in the province are hoping that rabbits will become popular now that the Chinese calendar marks 2023 as the year of the water rabbit.

Margarito Andrade, a local rabbit advocate, said that together with several farmers in Banga, Aklan has started introducing the province to the production of rabbits in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads throughout the world.

Local farmers see rabbit production as an alternative to boost food security and helps mitigate climate change.

“Currently, there are hundreds of residents in Aklan who are into rabbit production. In January last year, we counted some 400 plus breeders. Now I estimate it to possibly reach a thousand residents into rabbit breeding,” he told Rappler in a phone interview Monday noon.

“According to studies, rabbits do not emit gas in the air, which helps heal the earth from the threat of global warming. Also, through proper research and training, breeders know that rabbits only feed on dry grasses,” he added.

Despite the availability of information on the internet, some breeders rely on commercial feed to feed their rabbits. Because of the rising costs of the commercial feeds, some breeders were said to be discouraged about continuing their production.

“Right now, I am organizing a chat group of local rabbit breeders hoping for us to organize ourselves. Once we are organized, we could then sought assistance from the Department of Agriculture,” he added.

Once confederated, Andrade’s group is eyeing organizing a rabbit festival in the province.

Felino Remaneses, chair of the Municipal Agriculture and Fisheries Council) in Banga, Aklan, has conducted a lecture on rabbit production for farmers and fishermen all over Aklan at the Aklan Provincial Food Terminal at Barangay Pook, Kalibo.

“We have provided rabbit lechon for all to taste how yummy it is. It is healthier and better than eating lechon baka or lechon baboy,” he said.

Vicmae Macavinta, an employee of the Provincial Agriculture Office, said that at first she was hesitant on eating the lechon, knowing that it was a rabbit.

“But then I got curious as everybody else also tasted it, and I soon discovered that it is yummy. I am sure to eat it again once there is an opportunity,” she told Rappler Monday.

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