The Executive Secretary/and Chief Executive, National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA), Paul Ikonne, has disclosed that about 25, 000 litters of urine had been harvested from over 5000 rabbits adding that it will be deployed as organic fertilizer farms.
He also said from a pilot initiative in four states including Imo, Abia, Oyo and Cross River, over 1.36 million rabbits are expected to be reproduced from the 17, 000 rabbits earlier shared to farmers.
Ikonne added that following the visible successes so far recorded, the programme will now be extended to five another states.
Speaking in Owerri, Imo State, during the unveiling of Rabbit Waste Organic Fertilizer, harvested from rabbits in four pilot states in the country, the NALDA boss said also said 2.14 million liters of urine is expected to be harvested within the year.
According to him, the rabbit rearing programme was kicked off about three months ago after President Muhammadu Buhari flagged off the National Young Farmers Scheme (NYFS) in November last year.
He said the organic fertilizer is expected to boost farm produce of young farmers under the scheme at zero cost.
He said: "All the NALDA farmers who do submit their urine to various collection centers are been paid to courage them on the business viability of rabbit farm business- rabbit urine as organic fertilizer."
He said in its efforts to engage more youths in the agricultural value chain, the federal government had launched the rabbit farming adding that the rabbits were subsequently distributed to those who indicated interest in the project to among other things harvest urine from these animals which had been found to be a rich source of organic fertilizer to rice and maize farming.
Ikonne described agro-business as a lucrative venture that requires patience noting that the organic fertilizer would be distributed to farmers alongside spraying machines to increase their yield.
He said: "It on this backdrop, that the programme will be extended to other states and also increase the number of participants in the existing states."
He said rabbit farming could generate at least N100,000 monthly for those who venture into the trade adding that it could enhance the diversification agenda of the present administration and provide sustainable means of livelihood for the teeming youth population.
However, the Imo State Coordinator, NALDA, Mr. Amanze Ofor, said about 180 youths are currently participating in the programme within the state adding that the beneficiaries got paid immediately they turn in urine harvested from the rabbits.
The beneficiaries, who were glad that they were able to earn their first income through the initiative, however, lamented the challenges in accessing food and drugs for the rabbits.