QUAIL breeding is helping local farmers get self-reliant in Botswana which has been known for its thriving cows and sheep sector.
Five years ago, a friend offered Moso Monowe, a young farmer in Gaborone, with a few quail eggs. He instantly fell in love with the eggs, and quail breeding.
After doing research, Monowe found out that quail eggs are healthier than chicken eggs and that the meat has almost no fat, which makes it even more nutritious.
‘I got attracted to quails because of its nutrition value eggs compared to chickens,’ Monowe told Xinhua.
Monowe started with four birds until he had enough to produce eggs. He said he never gave up even though it was hard to break into the market since the mass population don’t know about them or have access to them. ‘I have attended market shows, agricultural shows to market quail farming,’ the 39-year-old farmer said.
Located in Molongwane, 20 kilometers away from Gaborone, Monowe’s farm currently has about 200 quails.
‘I had to reduce the number of birds after the government issued a statement in 2019, warning the public to refrain from consuming raw quail eggs and that affected my business, so I had to slaughter so many of my quails, but the business is picking up again,’ said Monowe.
Currently, his main source of income comes from pickled quail’s eggs, fertile eggs, meat and quail chicks. He further explained that he pickled eggs, when demand is low, to give the product a longer shelf life.
He earns 6,000 pula (about $542.72) monthly and spend 1,500 pula on feed and medicine.
One of the challenges in farming quail has been that in Botswana, the feeds required to raise healthy birds were not quail specific. Monowe said he feeds them with chicken feed with herbs like ginger, garlic, and lemon.
‘The eggs are now in demand from locals and Zambian citizens,’ he said, adding that he is trying to increase the number to 1,500.