Snail farming has developed so much that snails consumed in Europe and other parts of the world are raised from the farm.
France alones consumes over 100 million snails each year.
Whilst Snail farming as a business in Nigeria and in most of Africa is still in its infancy as most snails consumed are picked from the wild, this might be the time for Nigerians to jump on board and seriously consider this business of snail farming.
Why should nigerians consider snail farming as a business?
With low capital investment, low recurrent expenditure, little labour input and high yield, snail farming seems a worthwhile venture.
Nigeria has a conducive climate and luxuriant vegetation that can serve well as food thus making snail farming an ideal agro-venture.
With an ever increasing population and massive deforestation the snail population in the wild is depleting at an alarming rate resulting in a high export market for snails.
According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports; France, Italy and USA constitute the largest consumers of snails worldwide.
It is therefore necessary for a more radical involvement in snail farming by the governments and peoples of Africa.
Here is a quick list of the benefits of strating up your own snail farm in Nigeria
BENEFITS OF STARTING UP A SNAIL FARM IN NIGERIA
- SNAILS ARE A GOOD ALTERNATIVE TO MEAT: Snail meat is of a very high quality. It is low in cholesterol, sodium and fat. Hence it is good for hypertensive patients. It combats hemorrhoids’, constipation and arteriosclerosis. It is rich in iron, protein (with a wide range of amino acids), calcium and phosphorus content and therefore good for pregnant women and aids hematopoiesis (blood formation) in anaemia patients.
- SNAILS ARE GREAT AT REPRODUCING: Snails are hermaphrodites. They all lay eggs and therefore produce fast within a short period. There is no need to replenish stock.
- SNAIL SHELLS ARE USEABLE: This is a good source of calcium carbonate for livestock feed formulation.
- SNIALS ARE VERY RESISTANT TO DISEASES: the African giant snails have very few diseases as compared to other livestock like poultry, pigs etc. Snail Farms do not usually experience outbreak of viral infections. With good hygiene and the right stocking densities Snail Farm may never have an outbreak.
- CHEAP FORM OF HOUSING FOR YOUR SNAILS: The cost of materials for construction of pens is relatively cheaper than other livestock. A snailery can be even be constructed with used tyres.
- MINIMAL SPACE REQUIREMENT: The grow-out of snails can be achieved at the backyard. With a space as little as 5m x 2m one can conveniently grow-out 500 snails to maturity.
- LOW CAPITAL INPUT: The capital out lay for snail farming operation (housing and feeding and stocking) is very low compared to other livestock.
- EMPLOYMENT: Snail farming has provided employment for many and can serve as a good source of extra income for many families.
- EXPORT AND HIGH LOCAL DEMAND: Snail meat especially the African giant snail is in high demand all over the world. For example France imports over 4.8 million-kg of snail meat per annum.
- SNAILS ARE EASY TO HANDLE: docile not dangerous like pigs or cattle
- LOW MORTALITY RATE FOR SNAILS: with good management mortality can be less than 1%
- HIGH RETURNS ON INVESTMENT: —there is high return on investment within a short period of one year.
- AVAILABILITY: With heliculture snails are made available all year round.
- SNAIL FAECES HAS ITS USES: This is a good fertilizer and sells more than the meat in some countries.