Leading South African rabbit meat producer and exporter, Coniglio Rabbit Meat Farm (Coniglio), was liquidated in October 2019. This is according to an announcement by Summit Trust, the company dealing with the liquidation process. The liquidation follows claims of being unable to establish a market for its meat products.

However, in a 2018 article featured on AgriOrbit, John Falck, director of Coniglio, said that the rabbit meat industry in South Africa “is expanding at a rapid rate. This expansion is stimulated by growing market demand and the establishment of necessary infrastructure to supply this demand.”

Farmers left high and dry

Farmers were invited to start their own rabbit farms as part of Coniglio’s business model. It is said that this model functioned a lot like a pyramid scheme which made use of one investors money to pay another. The promised return on investment figures were very high and farmers were assured that Coniglio had established markets for the subsequent rabbit meat supply.

It was reported by several agricultural media that many provincial governments also provided funding for emerging rabbit meat farmers that was paid over to Coniglio. Yet, the farmers that were providing rabbit meat to Coniglio did not receive payment as the contract agreement stated they would.

Value of liquidation

According to the Summit Trust report, the assets that were liquidated amounted to R7 073 000. However, the liabilities amount to R51 092 916, which means a total shortfall of minus R44 019 916. Further investigations to establish the reason why the business failed, are ongoing. More information on the claims process can be found on www.summittrust.co.za. Click here to access their notifications directly. – Ursula Human, AgriOrbit