In August last year, banking and finance graduate Kudzanai Kanyangara, unemployed and with a family to look after, acquired 70 quail birds to breed and sell at her Highfield home in Harare
Her expectations at that time were that the birds would give her little money to help meet some of the basic family needs and complement her husband’s income.
But nine months later, Kanyangara, a mother and a wife, has over 2 500 quail birds and is making enough money to sustain the family.
She has even expanded her breeding space beyond the Highfield property.
“I realised this place was small, and that the birds would make noise for neighbours if they are in such large numbers, so I put up some of them at my uncle’s farm in Beatrice,” she said.
She has since employed four people to help her with the increasing work demand both in Highfield and at the farm.
Every month, Kanyangara sells up to 1 500 breeding quail birds to other farmers and each breeding bird, which is sold at two weeks old, costs $2.
But that is not all, as she also sells eggs at $6 for a crate of 30.
“Just yesterday, we picked 1 620 eggs, and because the demand is high, they will not take long before they are sold out, and the good thing is that I also get to take some to the incubator so that I have a fresh breed,” she said.
Although Kanyangara could not reveal the exact amount of money she makes, she said “the demand is very high” and that she makes enough to make a decent living and she is targeting to have 20 000 birds by December.
According to her, people who buy eggs include those who keep quail birds as well as those who believe that quail eggs can treat ailments like high blood pressure, male impotence and boost the IQ of babies.
So intimate with her customers, Kanyangara offers free training for those who buy from her with the intention to breed, and she also offers a “prescription” to those who buy eggs to treat various ailments.
“For those with high blood pressure, they should take 120 eggs in 25 days, and I have a woman who has been constantly buying these eggs since December and she has confirmed to me that this has helped deal with her high blood pressure problem”
So strict is Kanyangara’s handling of her business that she follows every procedure to the book, including the introduction of supplementary feed that she makes from vegetables, millet and soya beans, among other organic things like maggots.
Perhaps one of the reasons why her business remains afloat and continues to grow is how she makes sure she cross breeds the quails.
“I mark my eggs according to the types and even when they are taken to the incubator, they are placed in categorised trays so that we avoid mixing different types,” she said.
Kanyangara keeps Chinese, Egyptian and Japanese types of quails.
Her success, and that of the many quail bird breeders around the country, comes in the back of a recent attempt by Environment, Water and Climate minister Oppah Muchinguri to strictly regulate the breeding of quail birds in what was seen as a ban attempt.
This has sparked outrage among the Zimbabweans who are surviving on quail bird farming