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Haitian Bunnies

Travel & news discussion about Haiti

Haitian Bunnies

Postby KarenS » Thu May 11, 2006 6:46 am

From "COLLEGE STATION – While most Americans probably associate rabbits with Easter bunnies and batteries, they can mean a better life in Haiti.

Backyard domesticated rabbit production in that country – where the average monthly income is only about $50 per month – can double or triple a household's wealth, said Dr. Jeff Tomberlin, Texas Cooperative Extension entomologist.

A single adult rabbit can be sold for $3.50 U.S., Tomberlin said.

'A good rabbit farmer can sell about six rabbits per week, which translates into a substantial increase in their monthly income,' he said.

Tomberlin and Dr. Jim Muir, forage researcher with the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, recently traveled to Cap-Haitian, Haiti, to help farmers develop rabbits as a commodity. The two experts went on a grant from the Farmer to Farmer program funded by USAID program. That program was authorized by the U.S. Congress in 1985.

While there, Tomberlin and Muir, both of Stephenville, visited rabbitries and discussed animal nutrition and integrated pest management with producers. They also gave an introductory course on rabbit production, and presented lectures to students at the Centre D'Agriculture St. Benabas.

Rabbit production in Haiti is largely a backyard proposition. Families raise what they can eat and sell the rest, Tomberlin said.

On a personal level, the experience for both A&M scientists was rewarding, they said. Traveling from high-tech Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to the rutted dirt tracks of Cap-Haitien in a matter of hours made them realize how great the differences are between Texas and Hatian producers.

Despite the difficulties they face, however, Hatian farmers were as friendly, hospitable and friendly as any in the U.S., Muir said."

Rabbits. Who knew?
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