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How To Start Snail Farming Business in Nigeria
Snail farming business is one of the most neglected and yet one of the post profitable animal rearing business anywhere in the country. It provides one of the finest opportunity to make good money at a very short time. But why are some people not yet fully engaged in snail farming? The reason is ignorance.
Most people still have the believe that snail can only be picked in the bush. The culture of going to the bush to pick snails in the villages during raining time has been there for generations. So, it has been difficult for people to come to term that snail can actually be kept and grown at home.
Just like in many other aspects of farming in the country, Africans are yet to discover the great money making potential in snail rearing business and that is why we suffer in hunger and poverty. We neglect where the money is and keep pursuing it where it is not, going from one city to the other looking for one petty trading after another to trade on.
The good new: After reading this article, you will be on your way to starting your own snail business in easy and simple steps.
What is Snail: Land snails we wants to talk about belongs to the class of Molluscan, Gastropod. The one popularly known as 'Congo Meat' in many parts of Nigeria - Eju, Igbin, etc... There are so many species of snails but the ones we are looking at here are the ones that are suitable for Snail Farming.
HOW TO START A SNAIL FARM
The process of raring snails for commercial purposes is called heliculture. But in this context, we will limit our use of words to snail farming, which is one of the easiest small businesses an individual can engage in to make great profits in a very short period of time.
Snail farming entails just a minimum capital to start with and the profit margin is so high in that the snails, which are egg-laying animals lay a lot of eggs, which if adequate precautions are taken, will transform into more profits. It will even be important to note that snails could be exported to other countries just like some other commodities, as it is a well cherished delicacy in most part of the world.
WHY YOU SHOULD START A SNAIL FARMING BUSINESS
1. SNAILS ARE HIGHLY NUTRITIOUS: Snails have become a very much cherished delicacy among a lot of people across the world. This is due to its high nutritional value. The meat is rich in calcium, phosphorous, selenium and other essential minerals plus vitamins.
2. SNAILS ARE A GOOD SOURCE OF PROTEIN: The calories content of snails is quite low as well as low fat content. This has made it more revered among weight watchers and diabetic patients. Its body mass is also made of flesh, which account for the high protein contents.
3. AVAILABILTY OF MARKETS: With the population of Nigeria estimated to the tune of about 180 million people. The market for snails is every much large and will not be so difficult for a farmers to dispose of his produce
4. LOW CAPITAL REQUIREMENT: The capital required to start off a snail farming business is quite low, especially when compared to other agricultural businesses.
SUITABLE SNAIL SPECIES FOR SNAIL FARMING
1. Achatina fulica: This specie of snail is called the East African Land snail or giant African Land snail. Though it is of considerable size, but the smallest of the commercial species of snails.
It has a narrow, pointed shell, which can be twice as long as the width of the snail itself. The snail can grow up to 7 to 9 whorls at full maturity. It has reddish-brown shell with yellowish vertical markings. The colouration varies with the environment anyway.
2. Achatina achatina: The common name for this specie of snail is the Giant Ghana Snail. It is a specie of very large, air-breathing land snail. They are hermaphrodites as with other mollusks i.e. they produce both male and female reproductive organs and they are a very prolific breed of snails.
3. Achatina marginata: The common name for this specie of snail is the Giant West African Land snail. They can live to about 10 year and grow to a maximum size of about 20cm.
Of all these species of snails, the Achatina achatina is the most desirable among commercial snail farmers just for the big giant size. Its origin is from Nigeria to Ghana and then Liberia.
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 it's origin from Nigeria, get to Liberia from Nigeria and then Ghana
Another reason is due to it’s 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 .
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 produces.
SETTING UP A SNAIL FARM
Having decided on the specie, let’s take you through the step by step how to setup your snail farm in a small scale level and starts rearing your snail towards harvest.1. Snail Farming Environment - Snails are easily dehydrated, and wind increase the rate of moisture loose in snail which in turn, leads to the dryness of the animal. To prevent snails from losing water so quickly, your snaileries (the snail house) must be located in environment that is protected from wind.
A low plain, downhill site surrounded with enough trees is perfect for snail farming. You may plant plantains and bananas around your snail farm to prevent the impact of wind.2. Type of Soil For Snail Farm – Snail’s major habitat is the soil, and soil contains some of the components and chemical substances that it needed to survive. However, not all soils are suitable for snail rearing. The shell of the snail is mainly calcium and it derive most of them from the soil. Snail also lay it’s eggs on the soil and drink water out of the soil.
Hence, the suitable soil for snail farming must contain these elements. Must be balanced, not waterlogged, not too dry, and must not be acidic. The most desirable soil for snail is sandy-loamy soil with low water holding capacity. Clayey soil and acidic soil must be avoided.3. Getting The Sails For Farming – To start up a snail farm, it is advisable to get snails directly from the forest instead of buying from the market after they have been exposed to sunlight and have dehydrated. This is because snails drink a lot of water, so are easily dehydrated and this stresses them out, and reduce their fertility capacity.
The intending snail farmer could pick the snails from the bush with a very simple technique; clear a little portion of land during rainy season and sprinkle spicy fruits like pineapple, pawpaw, plantain, banana etc at about 5o’clock in the evening, when you go back there about 7pm or 8pm, you will pick up snails suitable for rearing. Repeat the procedure until you get enough quantity.
Another way could be to pick up snail eggs littered in the market place where it is sold and through a technique, check the fertility of the eggs, because some of them must have lost fertility due to the exposure to sunlight. The eggs are later put inside a container containing wet sand and covered with cocoyam leaf. Between 21 to 28 days, the eggs would hatch into baby snails. You start feeding them and gradually you raise a snail farm.”4. The Snail House (Snailery) - Snaileries can vary from a patch of fence-protected ground, sheltered from the wind to a covered box if you are breeding in small scale.
For larger population of snails, you can dug 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 levels harmful to the snails. You can use fresh leaves and cloth that is regularly wet 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.5. Snails Foods and Feeding – Snails especially Achatina mainly feeds on green leaves and fruits though they can utilize other ranges of foods. Feed your snails leaves, fruits, or even formula from the feed store. Aside from food to grow tissues, snails need calcium to grow shells.Leaves: Cocoyam leaves, pawpaw leaves, okra leaves, cassava leaves, eggplant leaves, cabbage and lettuce leaves.Fruits: Mango, eggplant, pawpaw, banana, tomatoes, oil palm fruits, pears. and cucumber.
Once they start growing, separate the big ones from the small ones. It take more than a year for the Achatina type to grow to harvest size. Others mature in two years.
1. GETTING A SUITABLE ENVIRONMENT: The most suitable environment for snail rearing is a moisture filled environment. Snails are easily dehydrated, so they need a so much wet environment to keep cool and hydrated.
2. SOIL: The best soil for snail production is the sandy-loamy soil which is devoid of laterite or mud, which might lead to a water logged snail environment. The soil used should also be rich in some minerals, most especially calcium, which is a major component of the snail shells.
3. SNAIL PROCUREMENT: The best way to source for snails is in the wild. This is much more preferable to buying in the markets just for the fact that the gene pool of the wild snails are still full and will make them a very good specimens for breeding.
4. THE SNAIL HOUSE: Concrete pens can be constructed for snails with soils up to about 10 inches in depth. The pens could be covered with wire meshes to prevent escape of the snails.
5. FEEDING: Snails most feed on green leaves and fruits though they can choose from a variety of different foods. It also best to feed them with concentrate feeds specially formulated to meet their nutrients requirements.
A commercial value snail will grow to full maturity in less than a year. It can even be harvested for marketing after 8 months if adequate feeding is applied. A matured snail will sell for close to N500 depending on the size and the cost of breeding a snail from hatching to maturity will not be more than N150, giving a profit margin of close to N350/snail which if multiplied by the large number of snails harvested, will yield a very wide profit margin for the farmer.
One million snails after a year or two sold at the rate of N50 each (highly reduced price) will give about N50 million! Isn’t that a good investment?
Apart from only selling your snails,snails are of high demand in the international market. There a people making millions every month exporting snails. Countries like France,America,Italy ,China etc are importers of snails because they really cherish the nutrient content of the animal.
So starting a snail farming business today will be very good,because if you do it well you will be sure of reaping your millions in the near future and it will be consistent.
Remember the bigger the snail farm,the larger the Income.
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