Attempts by some persons in the Northern Region who are into poultry farming to introduce quail farming to boost the consumption of its protein-rich meat and medicinal eggs, has hit a snag.
More than eighty farmers who ventured into the project, say there is no market for the bird and its products in Ghana.
The farmers are thus seeking government’s intervention to save their investments.
Quails are small birds that exist in the wild and can also be reared in cages. The birds multiply rapidly due to their ability to produce five to six eggs in a week.
According to research, its meat and eggs are a nutritious source of protein.
While the demand for quail meat and eggs has been on the rise in some parts of Africa like Kenya and Zambia, in Ghana, the nutritional and medicinal benefits are yet to be realized by many.
In the Northern Region, a guinea fowl farmer, Basideen Issifu, ventured into the rearing of quails on a large scale in 2016 after a trip to Kenya.
Speaking to Citi Business News about his quail farming experience, he said he invested time and money by doing a lot of public education on the benefits of the consumption of quail meat and egg but still did not get the right market for it so he had to stop.
“I had about 5,000 birds, I did a lot of education on Radio Savannah and people were buying and consuming and they gave me feedback about how their health was improving including those with asthma and ulcer issues and the likes”.
Mr. Basideen, who introduced about eighty people to the business, says he had to quit due to low market. His pen which used to house thousands of the birds is now deserted.
“I invested almost about 20,000 cedis or more into it. I had to build an incubator purposely for that as well as cages to suit the beds. I had to work on my car for advertisements and then the selling. So a lot went into the business; but I didn’t even get Ghc5, 000 from it. After I started selling, a lot were dying because we were not getting the money back to feed them; and you cannot tell someone to put money into a business that you are no more interested in yourself”.
Mr. Basideen said at a point he had to lower the prices of the birds and eggs just to get everything out of the cages.
He said the five people he employed eventually lost their jobs once he stopped.
Justice Chirase Juma, a physics teacher at the Kumbungu Senior High School and a poultry farmer, who was introduced to the quails business by Basideen, and currently has about 100 birds, says the lack of awareness among the public is a major challenge.
“With the eggs, in a week I can sell like two or three crates; and with the meat, I sell it once in a while. Maybe in a month, I can sell ten or twenty birds which is very low. It is still a strange thing to me that sometimes when I package quails in my truck to send to Accra or Kumasi, when I get to the station so many people come around to ask me what it is and where did I get them from? It seems like a miracle to many people. So it’s obvious that their education about the bird is a major problem.”
He believes a mass awareness creation on the health benefits of quail consumption will help boost their business.
“If there’s mass awareness creation on it, it will help us. In other countries, they have something like quail day, where almost everybody eats quail on that day.So if there’s awareness it will increase patronage and more farmers will get involved for us to produce more”.