Ordinarily, after relocating from the US to return home, one would easily turn to a ‘digital’ business venture, or one that does not betray a long time stay over- seas.
But not for Joe Wakapa. After a 14 year stay in New Hampshire, Wakapa returned home to set up an ordinary business—rearing of rabbits.
Yes, rabbits. Unbowed by perception of his Maasai kinsmen, Wakapa started off with three rabbits last November. Today, in under eight months, his stock stands at 300 rabbits and is growing.
Like many youths, he had gone to the US to look for greener pastures. ” I even studied for Biochemistry and three years later, I enrolled for a course in Nursing in Dementi and Nutrition at the University of Massachusetts,” says Wakapa.
Wakapa still wanted to do business and after his studies, he got a job and after a while, set up a small business.
Having been brought up like any Maasai boy, Wakapa’s love for livestock farming was still in his blood veins.
‘Biochemist’s dream is to start rabbit sausages factory’
No wonder then that when he came back to Kenya, which he believes is better than living abroad, Wakapa started off with dairy farming , even as he also set up a estate management firm.
“I could not farm in the US yet at home, I had a huge chunk of land. The passion to start farming was so big that I left the country even with my dual citizenship,” says the 33 year old farmer.
It is his cousin , Peter, who had over 400 rabbits who inspired Wakapa to take the leap.
Wakapa specializes in breeding pure breeds of rabbits such as the Flemish giant, Dutch giant, Angola and Checkered. His rabbits are fed on dry matter like hay and pellets. They grow up to 9kg.
The rabbit cages are constructed in a way that enables him collect the urine which is good foliar and pesticides. The rabbits’ defecation is also collected to make livestock feed.
Besides rearing the rabbits, Wakapa trains interested farmers to whom he also sells breeding stock from Sh 1,500 to Sh 4,000.
“There is potential for rabbit farming since we cannot even meet the market demand for these animals”, says Wakapa. According to him, many farmers are failing in rabbit farming due to poor management and also for not differentiating between breeding stock and rabbit for meat.
His vision? “I want to rear more than 5,000 and then have rabbit sausage factory,” he says.