Sunday December 17 2017

Barungi finds market for your rabbits

Pieces of rabbit meat put on barbecue for

Pieces of rabbit meat put on barbecue for roasting. Several farmers can now sell their rabbits to several roasters in upscale Kampala suburbs such as Kabalagala and Ntinda. Photo by Edgar R Batte 

By Edgar R. Batte

When Abraham Barungi went into rabbit business, he had done some research on rabbit meat.
His business model was to work with a network of farmers who would supply him with rabbit meat and he would add value to it.
This was his major motivation to start Bbit Cuts, a company that has membership in Uganda Rabbit Farmers Association, an umbrella body that consists of rabbit farmers, producers and associates.
His selling proposition was rabbit meat is white meat, with a number of health aspects yet not widely available on the market.
He explains, “Meat consumption is imbedded in many of our cultures in Uganda, if not, all somewhat. It is part of us and the major drive to that is strongly due to the delicious taste meat provides.”

Research
So through research, Barungi discovered an opportunity in the value rabbit meat contained as compared to other meat on the market.
Besides its savoury taste that meat lovers long for, rabbit meat saves consumers from heart or lifestyle diseases such as gout.
His main rabbit meat suppliers are farmers within the districts of Kampala and Wakiso. They have established rabbit farms.
“Currently we do not rear or engage in large scale production of the meat. We work with a network of rabbit farmers who supply us with the rabbit meat. Our main focus is value addition, marketing and distribution on the value chain of the rabbit sector,” Barungi says.

Products
On average, the farmers supply him between 15 and 50 kilogrammes per week.
The biggest supplier feeds the company stocks with up to 100 kilogrammes.
With Bbit Cuts as a meat brand, Barungi markets rabbit meat and its products which include whole rabbits as the flagship product, rabbit sausages, minced rabbit meat, rabbit whole leg and rabbit viennas.

Value addition
“We carry out our value addition in two categories. The first is ‘packed and processed’ meat products. We use vacuum packaging for our products for a longer shelf life and to also maintain the freshness quality of the meat even when frozen,” he explains.
The entrepreneur adds, “The second category is the ‘ready to eat’ which is more of providing food service. It involves preparing rabbit muchomo which is roasted rabbit meat and rabbit sausages, as well as rabbit fast food that includes fried rabbit, sausages, samosas, burgers, wraps, among others.”
“Rabbit meat is very delicious, nutritious and healthy. It is a white meat. Compared to other “meats” on the market, it is the highest in protein value and has the lowest amounts of fat, cholesterol and sodium. It is easily digested and absorbed by the body.”
Bbit Cuts currently have a minimum capacity of 100 kilogrammes for the rabbit sausages and 250 kilogrammes for the packaged meat per month.
He adds, “Our output volumes have grown at an average of 35 per cent every quarter as of 2017.”

Growth
Value addition is vehemently a core element to Bbit Cuts through which Barungi says they are moulding a solution into products that cater to the needs of customers and in return, he makes some money to grow his income and revenue.
“Without it, we would not be able to satisfy our customers and their needs. Currently, the return on investment stands at 26 per cent. This is 15 per cent higher than the previous year. We project that by 2020, our return on investment will stand at 60 per cent,” he explains.

Market
His biggest clients are Ugandans, especially those that fall in the upper and middle class with high disposable incomes as well as those that are health enthusiasts that consume rabbit meat as a means to lead a healthy life.
“Furthermore, we also supply hotels that service our target for instance; Sheraton Kampala Hotel, UNIK Hotel in Kyaliwajala, in Namugongo, among others. We also export to foreign nations such as Kenya, Germany, France, Belgium and China,” explains Barungi.

Employment
He currently employs a workforce of three people, namely a production officer whose major role is to handle the value addition processes for the different meat products at the meat plant, a chef that handles the rabbit meat preparation at the outlet that is fast food and barbecue and a service personnel that serves the customers and sees to their needs.
There is an accountant that does Bbit’s books of accounts, and a brand Illustrator that often designs the marketing material.

Future
“As much as we are a profit oriented farming company, our hopes and dreams are centred on the positive impact and richness in value we are providing to the meat consumers and the rabbit farmers,” says Barungi.
His wish list includes growing his company as a leading consumer preferred meat brand in Africa. Having rabbit meat served on the dining table of every household is another of his big dreams.

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