Human depends on all the essential elements of the food throughout life. The requirement may vary at every step of the age, but, all these elements are vital to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The basic elements are carbohydrates, protein, and fats besides other micro-nutrients. Their deficiency leads to drastic health problems that increase the burden on the healthcare sector. Protein-energy malnutrition is a severe health issue in developing countries, particularly with regards to animal protein intake deficiency.
Low intake of animal protein leads to malnutrition, especially in children. Okon and Ayuk (2007) informed that low protein consumption is quite common in Nigeria along with other developing countries. Available literature indicated that malnutrition has a negative effect on the reproductive system and physiological processes along with the welfare of children. It is, therefore, necessary that the population be well fed to maintain health. The National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria (2014) reported that the population growth in Nigeria is growing rapidly with a total population of 173.60 million. So, it is well forecasted that this rapid population growth would emerge more consumers that need the food for their survival.
Rabbits belong to the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha and fall in the category of ‘small mammals’. Oryctolagus cuniculus is a type of rabbit that is also known as a European ‘rabbit’ that is present all over the world except Antarctica. It is kept by the human as a domesticated form of livestock and pet and also found as a wild prey animal. Rabbit is a micro livestock species that seems to be the economical and sustainable means of producing and high-quality animal protein for developing countries.
Okon et al. (2007) told about the hard competition between man and livestock for the use of conventional ingredients such as grains. So it is the need of time to discover the potentials of various agro-by products to replace the expensive grains. Therefore, less expensive foodstuff gains more attraction as a substitute. Agbabiaka et al. (2013) have shown that unripe plantain peels contain 13.73% crude protein, 51.86 % total carbohydrate, 9.46% crude fat, 10.30% ash, and 6% crude fiber.
Pakistan Journal of Nutrition published research to determine the effect of various processed forms of unripe plantain peel meal-based- diets on the nutrient digestibility, growth performance, and production cost of weaned rabbits. The researchers found that replacing maize at 50% with fermented unripe plantain peels meal could improve growth performance and nutrient digestibility without compromising economic gain in rabbit production.