1. Why do Angora rabbit farming ?
1.1 Angora rabbits are mainly raised for their wool, which is known for its quality. Angora rabbits have their origin from Angora Province of Turkey from where they were taken to different parts of world and various types of angora rabbits were evolved. The differences between these types of angora are mainly in the amount of wool produced and the percentage of guard hair in the wool. Among the various types, German Angora is the best and annually yields 1000 to 1800 gm of wool under ideal management practices. Angora rabbits require temperate climate and can be adopted to any set of circumstances right from a kitchen garden to a large intensive commercial enterprise. They produce 6.4 times more wool than sheep on per kg body weight basis and do not require vast grazing land. The wool produced by rabbits is the finest, lightest and warmest among all animal fibres and is preferred for manufacturing of high value woollens which have got very good export potential. Rabbit wool also have medicinal properties and its garments are recommended in arthritis due to its electrostatic properties.
1.2 The advantages of rabbit farming.
i) Rabbits are highly prolific and a good female can produce 25 to 30 kits (young ones) per year.
ii) Rabbits are the best producers of wool on per kg body weight basis. They require 30 % less digestible energy to produce one kg of wool as compared to sheep.
iii) Rabbit wool is 6 – 8 times warmer than the contemporary sheep wool. It can be mixed with silk, polyester, rayon, nylon, sheep wool and other fibres to make good quality handlooms as well as hand knitted apparels.
iv) Rabbits consume a large amount of forage from diverse origins and hence, can be reared on roughages with very less quantity of costly concentrate feed.
v) Rabbits can be reared in small groups (upto 50 nos.) in the kitchen garden / backyard of farmer's house with kitchen waste as feed. Family labour is adequate to take care of labour requirements of the unit.
vi) Initial investment cost is low.
vii) Quick returns i.e. within six months after the establishment of farm.
viii) Income generation at quarterly interval makes the repayment easy.
ix) Apart from providing wool, rabbits also provide income from sale of kits, meat, pelt and manure.
x) Residual feed, together with rabbit manure is highly suitable for vermicompost which in turn provides excellent manure for fertilising the agriculture fields.
xi) Rabbit meat is rich in poly unsaturated fatty acids and is categorized as white meat.
2. Scope for rabbit farming and it's national importance:
2.1 Rabbit farming is another livestock activity with great scope as it is relatively easy, rewarding and takes little space compared to other livestock activities. Rabbit farming can also provide a very valuable additional source of income in the hilly areas where opportunities of employment are very limited. Another important consideration is food production cycle, which shows that rabbit need not be in competition with man for it's food. For producing high quality woollens, blending with other fine quality fibres is essential, which are produced in limited quantity in our country. Therefore, currently we are importing the fine wool. The wool from Angora Rabbits is of very high quality and it's blending with carpet wool of sheep and silk improves the quality of woollens to a great extent.
2.2 The rabbit rearing is practiced throughout the temperate regions of our country viz. Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Darjeeling, Shillong and Ooty in Tamilnadu. Good strains of rabbits suitable to our climatic conditions were developed by the constant efforts of North Temperate Regional Station (NTRS) of the Central Sheep and Wool Research Institute (CSWRI), Garsa, Kullu and management practices were standardised . Further, it has created adequate infrastructure for training of the farmers interested in taking up the rabbit farming on scientific lines. Defence Agriculture Research Laboratory, Pithoragarh has also played important role in popularizing this activity in Munsiyari, Darkot and Pithoragarh city in Uttarakhand. However, Angora rabbit can not tolerate high temperature and high humidity and should never be reared in such areas. The ideal temperature range for them is 5 to 35o C and humidity of 55 – 75 %. Thus, angora rearing is a boon for hill areas, where the scope for other livestock activities is very limited.
3. Financial assistance available from banks / NABARD for Rabbit farming
3.1 Loan from banks with refinance facility from NABARD is available for starting rabbit farming.
3.2 For rabbit schemes with very large outlays, detailed project reports will have to be prepared. The items such as land development, construction of sheds and other civil structures, purchase of the breeding stock, equipment, feed cost upto the point of income generation are normally considered under bank loan. Other items of investment will be considered on need basis after providing the satisfactory information justifying the need for such items. The cost of land is not considered for loan. However, if land is purchased for setting up the rabbit farm exclusively, it can be considered as beneficiary’s margin money upto a maximum of 10% of the investment cost.
4. Scheme formulation
4.1 In case of commercial rabbit units, the borrowers are expected to submit a project for availing the financial assistance from banks. The scheme normally should include information on land, availability of animals, availability of water, feeds, veterinary aid, breeding facilities, marketing aspects, training facilities, experience of the farmer and the type of assistance available from State Government's Regional Rabbit breeding centers.
4.2 The scheme should also include information on the number, breed and cost of animals to be purchased, their production performance, technical norms and input and output costs with their description. Based on this, the total cost of the project, margin money to be provided by the beneficiary, requirement of bank loan, estimated annual expenditure, income, profit and loss statement, repayment period, etc. can be worked out.
4.3 The scheme so formulated should be submitted to the nearest branch of the bank. The bank's officers can assist in preparation of the scheme or filling in the prescribed application form. The bank will then examine the scheme for its technical feasibility and economic viability. The important aspects considered while sanctioning the Angora rabbit project are :
A. Technical Feasibility
This would briefly include :
a) Nearness of the selected area to veterinary hospitals, breeding centers, marketing outlets for wool and other products and the financing bank's branch.
b) Availability of good quality breeding stock from nearby breeding farms.
c) Source and availability of training facilities.
d) Availability of concentrate feeds, kitchen waste and home grown fodder.
e) Availability of medicines, vaccines and veterinary services etc.
f) Reasonability of various production and reproduction parameters.
B) Economic Viability
This would briefly include :
a) Unit cost - The average cost of breeding stock relevant to the area
b) Input cost for feeds, veterinary aid, insurance, labour, etc.
c) Output costs i.e. sale price of wool, wool producers of different age groups and culled animals
d) Income-expenditure statement and annual gross surplus.
e) Cash flow analysis.
C. Bankability :
Repayment schedule ( i.e. repayment of principal loan amount and interest.)
Other aspects such as loan application forms, security, margin money requirements etc. are also examined. A field visit to the scheme area is undertaken for conducting a techno- economic feasibility study for appraisal of the scheme.
5.0 Sanction of bank loan and its disbursement
After ensuring technical feasibility and economic viability, the scheme is sanctioned by the bank. The loan is disbursed in stages against creation of specific assets such as construction of sheds, purchase of equipments and animals. The end use of the fund is verified and constant follow-up is done by the bank.
6.0 Lending terms - general
6.1 Unit cost
The unit cost of the unit may be worked out on the basis of unit size and infrastructure proposed. The prevailing input rates in the area may be considered for this purpose.
6.2 Margin Money
Margin depends on the category of the borrowers and may range from 5 to 25%.
6.3 Interest Rate
The interest rates will be decided by banks keeping in view RBI guidelines. However, for working out financial viability and bankability of model project, we have assumed rate of interest as 12% p.a.
Security will be as per NABARD / RBI guidelines issued from time to time.
6.5 Repayment Period of Loan
Repayment period depends upon the gross surplus in the scheme. The loan will be repaid in suitable quarterly / half yearly / annual installments usually within a period of about 6-7 years with a grace period of one year. Quarterly repayments are preferred in angora units as the income is frequent and the interest burden on borrower is reduced.
The animals may be insured annually or through long term master policy, where ever it is applicable.
6.7 Model Project Cost and Economics
Project cost for a model of 10 female and 3 male Angora rabbits with economics is given in the annexures.
Economics of Rabbit (German Angora) rearing for wool production
A. Project Cost