The so-called “quail meltdown” that has elicited so many jokes on social media and elsewhere has revealed the need for Kenyans to be more cautious when going into a business that appears to be lucrative.
When this newspaper broke stories of people who made millions rearing the bird, it was expected that many Kenyans would be keen on getting into the business. However, as with any business, one must be careful to do their research and even go as far as seeking professional advice before plunging into a venture.
In truth, any business can make one a millionaire, but success wholly depends on hard work and getting the maths right. It would be wrong to say the quail bubble has burst, because it is not exactly clear how many people took it up, how widespread it is and the actual losses in figures.
But it is safe to say that a significant number of people have gotten their fingers burnt. Is that sufficient reason to write off quail farming, or indeed any other business that fails to yield the expected high returns? Absolutely not. Businesses fail. That is a fact of life. But for every venture that falls by the wayside, a similar one continues to thrive.
The quail market appeared to hit its plateau so fast because of the intense publicity that it got and the “get-rich-quick” aura around it that was built on quicksand. Because of the alleged medicinal value of quail eggs and some very clever marketing gimmicks by pioneers in the business, the prices began to inch upwards to the magical Sh100. Now the price has dropped to as low as Sh10. So is this the time to bail out of the business or give it a wide berth?
Not at all. In fact, once the market bottoms out the prices will stabilise at a reasonable level and the beneficiaries will be those who did their homework well and were willing to ride out the difficult times.
That is the nature of any business and so it is with the quail phenomenon.