Even as Kenyan farmers count losses after the qual farming fiasco, their Ugandan counterparts are minting a fortune from the rare birds, as Ugandan market expresses insatiable demand.
Having been introduced into the country following the Kenyan success quail farming has even gone a notch higher with more farmers are embracing it than did their Kenyan peers. What puzzles most Kenyan farmers who saw the lucrative business fizzle out is how their Ugandan counter parts have managed to maintain and build the popularity of quails.
According to Kiwanuka William a renowned poultry farmer from Bujjuuko 20 miles from the capital Kampala, good business practice and wading off greed is the ultimate tool most farmers are using to keep the venture marketable. The birds which are mainly bred for their eggs which are believed to have more health benefits have found their way into household menus as well as local supermarket shelves.
“The Kenyan farmers were greedy and were fleecing most consumers, having realized the medicinal value of the eggs; they inflated the price of the quail eggs making it unaffordable. You know the quail egg is four or five times smaller than chicken egg. Therefore if you inflate the prices to five times costly than the chicken eggs then you draw a lot of attention which ultimately will bring in criticism that is not good for your business,” explained Kiwanuka.
Accoding to Kiwanuka, quail eggs averagely retail at about Ushs250 way below than the chicken egg that retails at Ushs400. Compare this with our Kenyan counter parts that retailed their eggs at about Ushs1000 to Ushs2000. It was exorbitant and the end user was bound to fail the business which ultimately happened. Maintaining quails is very cheap compared to chicken and therefore that too should be reflected in the pricing of the end products like eggs for the business to be sustainable. That is exactly what we are advocating to all farmers .
In addition, Kiwanuka noted that unlike chicken, quails require special feeds in order to retain the medicinal value of their eggs. “We have identified other traditional herbs like dodo (amaranth) that we mix with the feeds in order to keep the high quality eggs.” Kiwanuka rears quails for their eggs and has hatchery that produces 20000 chicks per month. He sells one week old quails to other farmers at about Ushs5000.
Other notable farmers, who have invested, are reaping and inspiring more into quail farmers include Fredrick Woira who has over 800 birds. He explained that rearing quails can be done with less space, less costly on feeds. “When one offers quality feeds mixed in the right proportion, a quail does not need any vaccination. When it falls ill, I just give it plain multi-vitamins and it will get back to normal,” explained Woira.
Joel kafuko who has been riding a boda boda for over a decade Is among farmers who have also embraced quail farming and is already reaping from his 400 birds and plans to quit Boda boda to embrace quail farming as a fulltime business.