How To Run A Profitable Snail Farming Business In Nigeria.
Snail farming in Nigeria is a micro-livestock adventure with a very low investment and a relatively high profit.
In today’s article, we will not be talking about snail farming business plan and snail production.
Snail farming is a glamorous venture for students – young school leavers, housewives and retired civil servants, without prosperous capital and for those that are unemployed and who are looking for something to survive on or augment their salary.
Snail meat tastes good and it is also very good for the human body. When eaten, it serves as a special delicacy in the diet. Snails are highly rich in protein (12-16%), rich in Iron (45-50mg/kg), low in Fat (0.05-0.8%) and containing almost all the amino acids needed by humans.
One health benefit that can be derived from Snail is that its slime can be used to cure “Convulsion” in the human body.
Benefits From Growing Snails
– It has the potential for huge returns on investment with extremely low level of inputs.
– It is a business that can be accommodated within a family’s backyard and not much stress required.
– No foreign made types of equipment are needed for its farming.
– Feedstuffs are made of abundant and cheap feedstuffs and they consist of materials mostly not required by human beings.
Which Snail Species is Suitable for Snail Farming
Achatina achatina is a snail species which is popularly regarded as the giant snail of Ghana. It is also known as the giant tiger land snail, is a species of very large, air-breathing land snail, a terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusk in the family Achatinidae.
Giant African land snails are hermaphrodites.
Hermaphrodites are living organisms that possess a male and female sex organ. Two snails are still needed for breeding, but they are very prolific breeders.
Similar to the other species in the genus, Achatina achatina’s shell can attain a length of 200mm and a maximum diameter of 100mm. They may possess between 7-8 whorls and the shell is often broadly ovate. The body of the animal is silver-brown in color although albino morphs may exist.
Achatina-Achatina is very good for commercialization as well, because of its profitability. This is because of the volume of eggs it lays at once. Each achatina lays 300 to 500 eggs at a time in clutches, three times a year. Therefore, if you start a farm with about 1000 snails, in one year you would be getting about 1.5 million snails going by the number of eggs they produce.
This type of snail is known as the East African land snail, or giant African land snail. It is an air-breathing land snail, a terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusk in the family Achatinidae. It is the smallest in size among all the desirable species for rearing in Africa.
Achatina fulica has a narrow, conical shell, which is twice as long as it is wide and contains 7 to 9 whorls when fully grown. The shell is generally reddish-brown in colour with weak yellowish vertical markings but colouration varies with environmental conditions and diet. A light coffee colour is common. Adults of the species may exceed 20cm in shell length but generally, average about 5 to 10cm. The average weight of the snail is approximately 32 grams.
This common type of snail is identified as the giant West African snail.
It is a species of air-breathing tropical land snail, a terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusk in the family Achatinidae. They can grow up to 20cm long, and live up to 10 years.
Among these three species, Achatina Achatina is the most desirable for farmers because it grows so big to become the biggest snail species in the world. Achatina Achaina has its origin from Nigeria, get to Liberia from Nigeria and then Ghana
Another reason is due to its high yield capacity. The other species are very good too but I will focus on Achatina Achatina and Archachatina Marginata in this blog post because they are easy to find in Nigeria.
Having decided on the species, let’s take you through the step by step how to set up your snail farm on a small scale level and starts rearing your snail towards harvest.
Constructing the Snail House (Snailery).
Snail pens can vary in size depending on the quantity of snail you plan to breed. It could be a big tyre or a drum or a wooden box; so far they are being kept away from enemies; they are safe.
For a larger population of snails, you can dig a trench or make a concrete pen with soil deep of about 10 inches, and cover it with screen or wire all around to prevent the snails from escaping. Remember that snails can reproduce fast and become pests when their breeding is uncontrolled.
Snails love dark and cold places, but make sure the humidity does not drop to a certain level that will be harmful to the snails, particularly the young ones. Fresh leaves and cloth that is regularly wet is the best way to regulate the temperature.
Also, the wire is useful in keeping away rats and snakes or other predators from eating the snails in your snail farm. But aside from these bigger predators, you should be wary about smaller ones like ants and termites. Your construction must have these predators in mind.
Spreading engine oil around the edges of your snail pen will be a smart way to keep ants and termites away.
Feeding And Rearing Snails (FEEDS + NUTRITION).
The food of Snails is of different varieties. Adult snails eat tender flower, vegetable plants, leaves, decomposing plant parts and some fruits.
Snails of all ages can eat plants such as lettuce, cabbage, tops of carrots, melon, eggplants, banana, paw-paw, and pineapple.
Among these foods, green paw-paw ranks best.
Method of Feeding Snails.
Feeding occurs mostly during the night because snails are nocturnal animals.
However, it has been proved that snails can feed at any time of the day especially when they are offered their favorite feeds, i.e. green paw-paw, fruits as well as the wet shaft from milled fermented maize.
Most of the foodstuffs are chopped into small bits and placed in front or center of the clutches or group. Powdery foods are placed on the hollow of paw-paw or on a banana or cocoyam leaves.
Enemies Of Snails And HowTo Protect.
These include frogs and toads, millipedes and centipedes, mice and rats, shrews and moles, ants and beetles, cockroaches, slugs, snail eating birds and those Snails which eat other snails.
Every attempt should be made to protect growing snails from matured ones. Isolating them is the best way to keep snails alive.
Marketing of Snails.
In West Africa, snails are sold in markets of district centers usually once a week either directly from the gatherers or from women who buy from the gatherers.
In Nigeria, snails are sold in open markets, along the roadside, or by people who gather them directly during the wet season of the year.
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