Luna Turney
Luna Turney

Luna Turney: I wanted to fill the gap and help farmers

Dominica's livestock sector is getting a much-needed boost through the foresight of one young entrepreneur who chose to create an enterprise to address gaps she saw in the industry.

Luna Turney owns Lumic Rabbit Solutions, a rabbit-based business focused on rabbit meat production, accessories, consultancy and more.

Luna explained to The Sun the idea of being an entrepreneur was never on her radar; however, her interactions with livestock rearers pushed her in that direction.

"I didn't go into business for self-benefit," she clarified, "I went into it to help farmers and consumers. I saw the need and great demand for rabbits on the island, so I figured that is the right business to enter to assist farmers in getting the rabbits they require to move forward."

Turney has been at this for approximately five years, and unlike other companies, the start of her journey was manageable.

"It has been great thus far, with a few ups and downs," she said. "As a rabbit farmer, in the "beginning, it was not bad, but now, due to price fluctuations, the cost is very high, which makes things more difficult. This causes you to switch around and rely on more natural foodstuff rather than artificial feed."

Turney explained how sourcing natural food alternatives can be difficult for businesspeople.

"It makes work a bit more tedious. You now have to go out and source the feed, which can be tricky," she said. "For example, there are good and bad 'carpi'; if you hire someone to cut it for you, they would not be looking for only the good one; they would figure that is for you, the farmer, to do."

This, in turn, is dangerous for the rabbits because, according to Luna, if the animals eat the bad 'carpi', called 'carpi vodka', they could die, "and no farmer wants that major loss. So, you have to sift through the 'carpi' yourself. Whereas with the feed, you grab it and portion it out."

She further expounded it is important to know the quantity of local/natural feed the rabbits would need and which is high in protein and other nutritional value the rabbit requires.

Despite the trying times, Luna is committed to the work and helping others. She cites "the smiles you put on farmers' faces knowing they could come to you and purchase their rabbits to go into breeding; the smiles on the consumers' faces because some consumers have never tasted rabbit meat" as some of the job's perks.

Being involved in the livestock sector, Turney sees how further the development of the industry can be of benefit to the country.

"As with everything, there is always room for improvement. Fortunately, there is always a demand for rabbit meat, and it is very lean – which is healthy – and can help decrease the food import bill in imported meat," she said.

Turney pointed to subsidized prices, the World Bank Project and winning the Business Innovation Award from the DYBT as valuable stepping stones in her career.

Luna's advice for others seeking to enter entrepreneurship, specifically farming or livestock rearing, is: "You need to go out there and use your marketing skills. If not, YouTube, Google, and social media are there to advise you. Also, get yourselves a mentor in the business, someone who you can trust," she emphasized. "Seek their advice. You may not always like what they tell you, but they can foresee obstacles you can't."

As for the future of Lumic Rabbit Solutions, this forward-thinking businesswoman has major plans in the works.

"I plan to do artificial insemination where we can get pure breeds that can withstand the tropical climate; we currently don't have that," she said. "Also, I want to host training for farmers to better inform them on best practices for rabbit production. And I aim to expand my reach by supplying supermarkets and hotels in Dominica and regionally with rabbit meat."