Kenyan farmers have been warned against excessive use of rabbit urine as leaf fertiliser on fruit-producing crops as it may lower yields.
According to Agronomist Wycliffe Obwoge, this application which is intended to boost yields may only be good for controlling pesticides.
He explains that the urine is more of a folia fertiliser. More leaves are formed, therefore, limiting the number of flowers for fruits.
“It is okay to apply rabbit urine on leaf harvested crops. Excess application on fruits controls pests, but initiates formation of more shoots and leaves, therefore, compromising the quality and quantity,” he said.
More leaves on crops like tomatoes call for increased labour in pruning.
Consumers are warming up to organically produced goods and farmers are adjusting to meet this emerging class with natural remedies of boosting production while shunning chemicals.
Rabbit urine is one of the organic fertilisers that doubles up as a pesticide.
Common fruit vegetates include tomatoes, pepper, capsicum, cucumber, egg plant, bitter and pepino melon, among others.
Juliet Ngugi of Peace Officers for Christ International (POCI), a Kiambu County based religious group engaging in agribusiness, said taking measures is key in spite of urine looking harmless.
“At least 200ml should be added to 20 litres of water for leaf and ground application. Like any other chemical application, personal safety must be observed,” she said.
The organisation rears thousands of rabbits at their Thogoto farm, where tapping and packaging of urine is done.
POCI sells a half a litre of the packaged urine at Sh800.
Excess application on kales, cabbage, lettuce, black night shade (managu), spider flower among others will do well.
The fertiliser is rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, which are major components of proteins for structural body formation.
Julie Ngugi displays Peace Officers for Christ International packaged rabbit urine for sale at Nakuru agricultural show on July 8,2016. Agronomist Wycliffe Obwoge says the urine is best for leaf harvested crops, but may reduce fruit yields due to too much canopy. PHOTO BY LABAN ROBERT.