Snails are very easy to rear. They do not bite, kick, bark, sting or harm and they don’t mess up the environment like other livestock. Snail farming is a business that does not require millions of naira. If land/space like one room size is available, then you don’t have problem. With N180, 000 anyone can start
Have you always planned of putting up a snailery? Here is a guide to help you get started on what breeding setup to build, what species of snails to raise, what soil to put them into, what food to feed them, among others.
Read on and discover the basics to snail farming.
It has both the female and male sexual organs; so one cannot really distinguish between the male and female specie of it.
Snails are grown in various parts Nigeria for various reasons. A snail’s flesh is cooked and eaten as food and its shell is used as material for accessories and decorative items. Snails in manageable quantities may also be used to kill harmful insects in the farm.
There are people who grow snails for business or for home use. If you are interested in starting a snail farm, here is how:
Make a suitable breeding place for the snail. The size should be suited for your purpose – whether you are growing it for personal consumption or for re-sale to others. You can use a covered box if you are breeding in small scale. For larger population, you can dug a trench or make a concrete pen 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. Also, the wire is useful in keeping away rats and snakes or other predators from eating the snails. But aside from these bigger predators, also be wary about smaller ones like ants and termites.
Put moist, loamy soil in the breeding area. Put litters or leaves to serve as shelter for the snails. Snails love dark and cold places. Make sure the humidity does not drop to levels harmful to the snails. You can use cloth that is regularly wet to regulate the temperature.
Decide on the size of your stock. Would you like to start from hatchlings or from pre-adult snails?
Put stock snails in breeding area. Different snails are bred in different areas of the world. Be sure, especially if you are breeding commercially, that what you rear is the kind that sells on the market. Edible snails that grow in tropical area are. Those that are popular in tropical areas are the Achatina fulica, Achatina achatina and Archachatina marginata. Obtain a stock from other local breeder, otherwise you have to import it.
Observe the proper stocking density for the area you have and for the size of snails you are growing.
Feed snails leaves, fruits, or even formula from the feed store. Aside from food to grow tissues, snails need calcium to grow shells.
Once they start growing, separate the big ones from the small ones. It takes more than a year for the Achatina types to grow to harvest size. Others mature in two years.
Many who rear snails in Nigeria are also unwilling to let others know about the farming methodology. The techniques are often shrouded in secrecy. But the plain truth is that snail farming is as easy as ABC. The only thing the snails may constantly demand from you is your attention and care. They hardly fall sick. You don’t have to buy their food and you may not have to spend much to create an abode for them. The beauty of it all is that the snails reproduce rapidly.
It is not an exaggeration to say that on the long run, you can make over 100 percent return on investment, if you convert a portion of land to commercial snail farming, observes a snail farmer. Snail farming is a three-in-one project that involves production of snails, vegetables and various kinds of fruits snails eat.
More so, you can make money from these three segments of the project. Anybody can manage including women and children, as snails are odourless, harmless and very easy to manage. Snails have economic value; it is very close to cash. You will not regret it if you have the right knowledge. The income is multifarious, as you make money from the snail
Commercial snail farming generates employment opportunities for youth, women, retirees and part-time jobs for even the employed. For the nation, it provides a ready avenue to reduce poverty, creates jobs and generates foreign exchange. According to him, “to start the business is a function of the land space you have. You can start with N40, 000 to N50, 000, depending on the space of land you have. What you require using modern technology include blocks, rod, cement, sand; if you use these materials to construct the pen, it stands the taste of time.
30,000 snails are capable of producing hundreds of eggs, which hatch into snails. It is now possible to produce 1,000,000 snails worth more than N5 million twice a year. This is made possible because of the availability of very highly prolific ACHATINA ACHATINA species of snails, which lay 80-200 in one batch 2-3 times a year.
For instance, if I buy one snail from my supplier at N200 and put it in my farm, after three months it will grow and we can sell it for N300 or N350. In addition to that, it will lay eggs for you, so you make money from both the eggs and the appreciation of the size of the snail.”
Some people use wood, bamboo, and after one or two seasons, they can be damaged by rains. But cement, rod, galvanised wire net, can last for a very long time. But we are talking about commercial snail farming, not just snail farming. We should move away from rearing snails in tyres, clay pot, boxes to the modern method of free- range system that you use rear 100,000 snails for local consumption and export.
Snail farming requires practical knowledge before venturing into the business, and this according to him, is because “snail business is knowledge base. If you do not have skills, you cannot go far and if you are involved in wrong principles, you will not do well. Skills are very important. If you do not have the skills, you can talk about snails farming for 30 to 50 years, the industry will not grow. We need to do a lot of researches.