A former Kisii University student, who started rearing rabbits as a hobby and later for pocket money during his studies, is moving to a urine harvesting venture to tap into the rising organic farming craze.
Brian Otwori, who is set to graduate later this year, has been selling the rabbits for meat to meet personal effects in third and fourth year at the institution.
He entered rabbit farming as a hobby at his Kebirigo Kenyerere Village in Nyamira County.
He bought eight does and two bucks at Sh200 a pair in August 2014. They were between five and six months. Currently, the number stands at 37.
“I never thought of the market, where I could sell the rabbits. I just started as a hobby because of the agriculture oriented course I was taking at the university. As the number grew, I thought of monetizing the fun,” he said.
He used to sell one rabbit at between Sh300 and Sh500 depending on the weight.
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The agripreneur, who is also managing hundreds of Kisii University farm rabbits, said there is more money in urine selling than fur and meat.
Money in urine
Currently, the cost of one litre of raw urine ranges from Sh400 to Sh500. Packaging companies are earning between Sh500 and Sh800 from a half a litre of the same.
In the urban market, where the rabbit’s white meat is being used in sausages and other products, a four kilo animal fetches about Sh3,000.
If one rabbit gives three litres of raw urine in a month, and he sells it at Sh800 per litre, then he would be earning Sh2,400 in 30 days.
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From the studies he has carried out while managing the university farm, one mature rabbit can give between one and half to two litres of urine in two weeks if well fed.
Mature rabbits of about three kilos hardly fetch Sh1,000, he said.
“Rabbit urine is used as folia fertiliser in crop production. It is also a pesticide that effectively controls aphids, and other crop sap sucking organisms,” he said during the Kisii Agricultural Society of Kenya Show, 2016.
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Health conscious people are moving away from inorganic farming because of risks associated with chemicals in fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides.
The gestation period of rabbits is one month. They mature in five to six months. Increasing the number to more than 100 for Otwori, who relies on weeds for feeds from shambas at his rural home, is not a challenge.
He will graduate with bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and Production Technology.
PHOTO BY LABAN ROBERT.