Breeding African cane rats or ‘grass cutters’ as they are fondly known in Nigeria could be new money spinner for entrepreneurial types as demand for its meat as a delicacy overtakes supply.
The name ‘grass cutter’ derives from the noise the rodent makes when eating. They can be found in many forests of Africa.
The rat’s meat is said to resemble suckling pig when cooked and is more expensive than an ordinary kilogram of chicken, beef, or pork with a fully grown grass cutter fetching as much 50 US dollars a piece.
Breeders like Ismail Azeez in Ogun state bordering Lagos state have sized the opportunity and are farming the rats for sale to restaurants and markets, especially during the festive season.
He said his farm was already producing over 1000 grass cutters per month.
Unlike other types of breeding that requires large start up costs, rat farming he says, anyone can do.
“Most of the materials that you need for them are local items, you get your grass freely. It is the kind of thing that can also be incorporated to crop farming so the things you get from your farm like your maize, your cassava can be used in feeding the grass cutters,” he said.
Azeez also breeds snails on his farm to supplement his grass cutter business. More....