Mr. Jacob Temitope Ogunleye is an animal scientist based in Suleja, Niger State, breeding grasscutter and training farmers on other aspects of livestock farming.
In this interview with Daily Trust at the just concluded Zuma FM Harvest Festival in Suleja on Saturday, he explained why farming grasscutter becomes an area of interest to farmers.
“Grasscutters, I can say is a bush meat of the Africans and cannot tolerate cold environment, that’s why I can say it is our animal here; and we felt that it is already going on extinction so people came together to see how this animal can be domesticated and it can be farmed like poultry, goat, others and we have been doing that. We started this initiative last year and we have been able to establish some farms,” he stated.
According to him, he had helped farmers in Dikko, Suleja and other places to establish farms, adding that “grasscutter comes in a colony of one male to four females, which some call ‘family.’
He said a colony or family will cost a farmer N85, 000 even in Abuja compare to higher prices elsewhere, stressing that they have enough on the ground to establish farms.
Mr Ogunleye, however, advised farmers to go for two colonies or families because the grasscutter is a social animal that will make breeding within a family very difficult unless one brings males from other families or colonies.
“At least if somebody is starting, we encourage two colonies, the reason why we encourage two colonies is that if you have only one colony, you are going to run into trouble of in-breeding. In grasscutter farming, if you go and put one family and they give birth, how you do cross them, is going to be a problem on the farm. But when they are two families or colonies, you’ll see how to build their house and do the mathematics where you make sure they don’t cross each other as a unique family. Otherwise, If someone now says I don’t have money to start with two families but with one family which means by the time they give birth, you have to look for males somewhere else to cross them,” he explained.
On feed, he said grasscutter farming is almost zero feeding system because they eat most of the wastes. ‘’In fact, their name grasscutter means they eat more of grass. We have the elephant grass, sugarcane, watermelon peels, and other wastes, it’s not like poultry that if your feed finishes you will be panicking. If your feeds finish you can go the bush and cut grass for them and they will be ok.’’