Its exactly 2 months before we commemorate 2 years since the banning of Zvihuta or Quail birds! Remember the Quail bird craze that took the country by storm in 2015/16 era? The business of keeping the small birds became an instant hit that created many opportunities for poultry farmers. Some abandoned rearing broiler chickens altogether in favour of the then trending zvihuta project. Some started training people to raise the birds, some made money from selling eggs and even leading retail shops such as TM and OK had the zvihuta meat and eggs on their shelves.
What made zvihuta a hit?
- The project had been brought from UK and generally locals embrace all projects that come from there
- The project had been a follow up of the sack potato project which had emanated from UK
- The Quail had ‘Medicinal Cures’ -it was touted as a solution to many non communicable diseases
Some invested heavily in the project borrowing funds inorder to construct poultry runs to house the birds. The biggest beneficiaries were those who sold eggs and training institutes for quail projects. Then one day, the minister responsible for the sector intervened and confirmed that the medicinal benefits were a hoax-this marked the beginning of an end to a high flying project that had taken the country by storm!
What do we learn from the project?
- Projects that come from UK are generally accepted by locals
- The project had resemblance to a commodity Ponzi scheme, those who made the big funds were supplying eggs
- The scramble for the project showed the high interest in entrepreneurship by locals particularly agriculture
- Banks reviewing business plans failed on the ‘compliance with local laws and regulation‘ aspect. No-one checked whether the project had been cleared by relevant ministries
- Projects that affect the medical field are sensitive and investors should carefully check with relevant authorities
- The project’s success and viral spread was fuelled by Social Media
There are many more lessons, feel free to add, however the follow up project to the quail even spread at a faster rate and it is the now defunct MMM. Those who had been making money from zvihuta shifted their focus to the money ponzi scheme before the spectacular collapse of the scheme which went off the cliff with more than US$6 million of depositors funds.
So on 16 April 2018, we will commemorate the end of the high riding income generating project that once took the country by storm. We will watch on the horizon for similar projects with traits similar to the zvihuta project.
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