Appraising the Viability of Quail (Chihuta) Farming. Prospects and Challenges. a Case of Bindura Urban Farmers in Zimbabwe
Quail production refers to the rearing of birds, meticulously chosen with the use of comparatively exhaustive systems, for meat, eggs or other purposes. The study was carried out in Bindura urban area to evaluate the viability of urban quail farming. A total of 40 urban quail farmers selected through snowball sampling, and 10 key randomly selected informants were interviewed. Semi-structured interview guides were used, addressing such topics as history, ownership, management, opportunities, challenges and business records of urban quail farming in Bindura town, Zimbabwe. A descriptive analysis of data was performed. As shown by the results, the rearing of quails is a new agricultural business in the history of Zimbabwe. The main challenges highlighted by urban quail farmers included inadequate housing facilities, insufficient space, theft, predation, inadequate knowledge, fluctuations in market prices, inability to access credit and misconceptions in urban agriculture policies. Despite the challenges cited above, urban quail farmers manage to provide eggs and meat to their families and relatives. Urban quail farming proved to have the potential to boost family income and reduce poverty to some extent. Also, it provides an opportunity for academic research on the alleged medicinal properties of quails. The study concluded that urban quail farming plays an important, yet unexplored, role for the livelihoods of the urban population. The study recommends policy changes that address the following issues: new developments in urban agricultural planning; awareness and education campaigns for various stakeholders; monitoring and coordinating urban agricultural activities; and provision of loans and other credit facilities. The study also proposes the government to support quail farmers through the establishment of processing facilities for quail products. (original abstract)
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