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Year of the Rabbit 兔

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Sanzhiyang Township (SZY) in Duan County is the centre for smaller villages and hamlets. Sanzhiyang means Three Goat and this name comes from the steep hills where three goats can’t walk side by side. The people are mainly of the Yao ethnic minority (67%) but also Maonan and Zhuang minorities.

The average annual income is 716 RMB per person with the range 400 – 800 RMB, with each person living off 0.9 Mu (0.06 ha).  Yuan Jianzhui, from SZY Animal Husbandry Station says because SZY is located in a mountainous karst limestone area, the land fertility is low, the hamlets are not close together, the transport is difficult and people have a very hard life.

Rabbits are a good animal for such an area as they are small animals feeding on local grasses.  This year there was a severe drought in the South-West of China and Duan County was affected. This has meant that crops were not planted at all or if they were the production will be very low.  The farmers say that without crops it is very hard to raise pigs and chicken.

Farmer Wu explained that rabbits have been good to raise as last year he had over 100 and sold both adult and young rabbits. During the drought he reduced the numbers down to 5 breeding stock and in April  he had 22 rabbits. He sells both adults and young stock to farmers from other hamlets and shows them how to raise rabbits. He said  his income from rabbits was looking very good, and the family ate some on special occasions. He was very pleased with this.

NZCFS and Sanzhiyang Animal Husbandry have assisted the first 20 families from Jiadiao and Bama hamlets of Dingdong village, with your help we can assist more families. The people in these hamlets have not received any government help and are a long way from the township centre. This project is on-going with more families receiving rabbits through our support.

The total cost is $1600 which includes buying three female and one male for each of 20 families, the transport of this breeding stock from a nearby city, the transport to bring the farmers into the Animal Health Centre in SZY for one days training, booklets on rabbits and petrol for Animal Health to visit the farmers regularly. The farmers will make their own cages and sign an agreement which includes keeping the breeding stock numbers the same for two years or returning them so that Animal Husbandry can reallocate them and that local people will have priority in buying any young rabbits.

Each female rabbit has approximately 10 kittens in each litter and it takes 10 weeks to raise the young rabbits for sale and this is repeated 4 times each year. The potential is for farmers to increase their income by $1200 per year.  A $20 donation buys one rabbit and the training for a family or $80 provides breeding stock for one family. Click on the donation button to make your contribution.