Yes, we all enjoy the sweet taste of snails but have you ever considered how those snails are gotten? Not all snail sellers pick the snails at random, snails are actually grown or reared and that practice is called snail farming.
Another name for snail farming is heliciculture and it involves the raising of edible land snails for human consumption or cosmetic purposes. By cosmetic purpose, I mean that snail slimes are extracted and added to creams and soaps. This is because of its numerous benefits for the skin as it aids skin regeneration, treats acne among others.
Why Should You Consider Snail Farming In Nigeria?
1. There is high demand for snail meat
Nigerian have a huge appetite for snail meat. As such, there is a high demand for snails in Nigeria. By starting snail farming in Nigeria, you can be a supplier to this huge market and make massive profits.
2. Snail meat is nutritious
Snails are high in protein, phosphorus and calcium, as well as low in fats and sodium. This is one of the reasons why snail farming is highly sought after aside its sweet taste. There are many types of edible snails, and they vary in size, colour, and shape.
3. Highly Reproductive
Snails are highly reproductive which means well for the business. In fact, some snails are hermaphrodites’ and can reproduce by themselves without even mating with another snail.
4. Environment friendly
Snails are environment friendly. There is nothing about snails that makes them a danger to the ecosystem. They are not poisonous in anyway. Even their feaces is good for the soil and doesn’t smell like that of other animals like birds. Besides, they don’t make noise so your snail farm will be as quiet as you want it to be.
5. It’s not capital intensive
The cost of starting a snail farming business is very low. This makes it a good option for people who don’t have much capital and are looking for a business to start with the little they have. You can buy as much as your capital can afford, the snails will reproduce quickly with time.
6. Used in Cosmetics
Snail slime has been found to have profound benefits on the skin. As such, many cosmetic companies extract these from snails to manufacture their products. Snail slimes has been proved to cure and prevent acne, has anti-aging properties and regenerates the skin.
Read Also: How to Start Rabbit Farming In Nigeria
How to start a snail farming business in Nigeria
1. Choose a Snail Specie
First, you should know the specie you want to breed. You don’t want to go for those of them that cannot survive the African climate.
These are the land snail species Archachatina marginata and Achatina fullica.
Archachatina Marginata – This species of snail, also known as the Giant African Land Snail (or Banana Rasp Snail), is highly sought after in rural and international markets due to its high nutritional value and valuable by-products.
Achatina Achatina is another species of snail that you can grow to make money. It is also known as the African Giant Tiger Land Snail. It produces more eggs than the Archachatina Marginata species and can grow to 30cm in length.
2. Build a Shelter for the snails.
You should build a shelter (snailery) for your snails. The snailery must be in a wind-protected environment to prevent them from rapidly losing water.
Snails have a tendency to move about and are not happy staying in one place. You should make sure they have escape-proof housing. Make sure the house has the soil, food, ventilation, etc as required.
3. Get the best soil possible for your snail.
The shell of the snail is mostly calcium, and most of their calcium comes from the soil. Avoid letting the soil become too wet or too dry. Try to maintain a proper balance. This will prevent your snails from being in danger. Snail farming in Nigeria is possible with sandy-loamy soil that has low water holding capacities. It should be rich in organic matter and have a high amount of nutrients.
4. Feeding snails
They eat plants more as they are vegetarians. You can feed your snails a wide variety of food, including leaves, cabbage, cucumber, cereals, banana, tomato, pear and tomato, as well as paw-paw, okra leaves and other edible vegetables that are safe for them.
What is the average time it takes for snails to mature?
It takes between eight and thirteen months for the snail to mature fully. Sometimes, it can take longer. However, the longer it matures, the more money you make.
Is Snail Farming Lucrative In Nigeria?
Snail farming in Nigeria is a lucrative business.
Snail farming is low-risk and produces high profits. It takes patience, but it’s worth it.
If ten thousand mature snails were sold at 400 per piece after two years. That’s four million Nigerian naira. And since feeding and managing snails is inexpensive, you make high profits.
Let’s get to the money part. You can start with as little as 50,000 naira and go up to 5 million naira depending on the size of your business. You make the housing, and then they lay eggs. Each snail can lay up to 400 eggs each year, so imagine the profit potential.
The Problems of Snail Farming In Nigeria
We have discussed the benefits of snail farming in Nigeria but we cannot ignore the cons or challenges that might affect your snail farming business. They include:
1. Scarcity of resources
When there is a shortage or inability to obtain the feeds they need, not only are these problems for farmers but also for the animals themselves. Feeds should be equal in size to snails, no matter how small or large they are. This will prevent underfeeding which could lead to increased mortality rates.
2. Diseases and Parasites
There are some diseases that can affect your snails and some of them are:
- Bacteria disease (pseudomonas Arueginosa) Fungi disease (Fusarium spp)
- Parasites(schistosomiasis, fasciolosis.
- etc. just to mention a few poses a great obstacle in snail farming.
You cannot see each of these parasites or diseases with your naked eyes. They can only be seen by careful observation of the snails. Take, for example:
- Snail inactivity
- Natural colours lost
- Loss of reproduction
- Thin shells
- Tentacle loss
Schistosomiasis (NTD) is one of the neglected tropical disease (NTDs). Schistosomiasis is caused by parasites in some types of freshwater snails. The parasite’s infectious form, called cercariae, is released from the snail into water.
3. Type of soil
It is crucial that snail farming businesses have a good soil. Snail health is dependent on soil. Any soil contamination could cause death.
4. Climatic factors
Snails can only survive in high humidity, low temperatures and a dry season.
5. Slow growth
It is not easy to deny that snails take a long time to mature, so patience is a must. This is not a quick-money scheme.
Snails are fragile and vulnerable animals. Their slow speed makes them a perfect target. Other predators include insects and millipedes as well as crickets, spiders, toads and birds.
7. Bush burning
Bush burning and other human activities pose a serious threat to these animals. Bush burning removes them from their habitat, and exposes their eggs and them to the harsh sun and other unsuitable factors.
These are some of the basic things you should know about starting snail farming in Nigeria. I hope this article helps.