VICE president (VP) Emmerson Mnangagwa says government has not banned quail (zvihuta)-rearing projects claiming the birds are delicious and Zimbabweans enjoy their meat.
The government had recently, through Environment minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, suspended the trade in commercial quail-farming, saying this was in keeping with its mandate to protect citizens from conmen who were claiming the bird and its eggs had medicinal value.
Her announcement generated debate and ridicule as quail birds have become an instant hit with many Zimbabwean now venturing into rearing them.
Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, the VP said there is no policy that has been put in place in Zimbabwe that quail birds’ projects are not allowed.
“Members of Parliament can also engage in such projects… but there were others who are moving around the wild life taking away quail birds’ eggs, we are not happy about that,” he said.
“There is a way of rearing quail birds commercially, carrying out your quail birds’ project and selling to hotels, but we do not allow people to poach quail birds in the National Parks. That is the issue, so we are simply making everyone aware so that our nation develops.”
Meanwhile, deputy minister of Agriculture Paddy Zhanda told the same Parliament that Muchinguri’s proclamation on the banning of quail birds rearing was offside saying she acted out of her jurisdiction.
“I am reliably informed by the minister involved, that the minister of Environment, Water and Climate withdrew the ban,” Zhanda said.
I think there could have been a misunderstanding because domestication of quail birds rests with the ministry of Agriculture.
“We are the only ones in terms of the Department of Veterinary Services that can issue the ban in terms of whether they are suitable for consumption or not.
“However, if it was the issue of hunting the quail birds in the bush, obviously, it could have been related to the minister of Environment, Water and Climate. I am reliably told that she has since withdrawn the ban.”
But Zhanda was not let off the hook that easy with MDC Kuwadzana MP Nelson Chamisa said the about U-turn was another example of policy inconsistency.
“Is this not a reflection of yet another case of inconsistency within government? The minister of Environment issued a press statement and now we are hearing the deputy minister saying she never said that.
“Is this not further evidence of a government that is becoming expert in double speech? …They indicate left but turn right. Can you address us on that issue, minister,” Chamisa said.
Zhanda defended himself saying he had “answered the question, but on the basis of hearsay because” he was not privy to what the minister said.
“If anybody was privy to what was said by the minister, it was through the media and that is not a policy,” Zhanda said.
He then asked vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa to help him respond arguing it needed his input as it relates to policy inconsistencies in government and not the issue of agriculture.