How to Start a Snail Farm in Nigeria
Snail meat (popularly known as “Congo meat”) has a huge demand in the international and Nigerian market for its unique taste and nutrition value.
Snail meat contain a high amount of protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin A and very low in fat. Another reason for the popularity of snail farming business in Nigeria is its economic value; it requires little capital and is highly profitable within a short time.
The main benefits of snail farming in Nigeria are listed below:
Snails are hermaphroditic in nature and highly reproductive. By “hermaphroditic” I mean that both the male and female reproductive organs are available in each snail. As a result of this, snails can reproduce very fast. One snail can lay eggs 6 times in a year. Each time they lay more than 80 to 100 eggs.
- Because of its high nutrition value, snail meat is higher recommended by medical experts.
- Snail meat is popularly accepted all over the Nigeria. There is no religious group or tribe that abhors the consumption of snail meat.
- Snail has a great market all over the Nigeria.
- The Risk of losses is minimal when compared to other types of livestock farming system.
- Snail farming can create avenues for wealth creation for the unemployed masses.
- Snail farming is not time consuming and there are no stress, odour or noise around the business.
- You can easily construct a farm in your backyard.
Steps for Starting a Snail Farm
Select a Suitable Location
Snails get easily dehydrated. This dryness occurs when snails are kept in an environment where there is too much direct sunlight and wind. To prevent the snails from losing water form their body quickly, you have to place the snail house (snailery) in an environment that is protected from sun and wind. An area with vegetables and trees can make perfect environment for snail farming.
Use a good soil that has neither a lot of sand nor too much clay. Snails are unable to dig into hard, dry clay. Soils with too much sand do not contain enough water. Soil that contains 20% to 40% organic matter is good. The soil should be similar to that of a garden in which green, leafy vegetables thrive. If your snail farm contains plants, keep them wet and properly care for them. Regularly remove any weeds. Good soil favors snail growth and provides some of their nutrition. Lack of access to good soil may cause fragile shells even when the snails have well-balanced feed; the snails growth may lag far behind the growth of other snails on good soil.
Get Fresh Snails
After making suitable environment and selecting suitable land for snail farm, it’s time to buy some fresh quality snails from the market or any farm. According to snail farming experts, getting snails directly from the forest instead of purchasing from the market make good result in production. This is because snails drink a lot of water, so are easily dehydrated and this stresses them out, and reduces their fertility capacity. You can collect some snail from the bush through a very simple technique; during the rainy season clear a little portion of land and sprinkle spicy fruits there like pawpaw, banana, plantain or pineapple. Suppose you have done this process at 5 pm in the evening. Then go back there at about 7 or 8pm, you will pick up snails that gathered in the place. Repeat the process until you get sufficient amount snails for your farm. There are a lot of good specie of snails but the giant West Africa snail (also known as Archachatina Marginata) is the most desirable specie for snail farming because of its high yield capacity and availability in Nigeria.
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 production 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. 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. The wired fence is useful in keeping away rats and snakes or other predators from eating the snails. You should also look out for smaller predators like termites and ants.
Snail Food and Feeding
Snails, especially the Archachatina Marginata generally eat fruits and green leaves. You can feed your snails some leaves like cassava leaves, cabbage, cocoyam, eggplant leaves, lettuce leaves, okra leaves or pawpaw leaves. Among the fruits you can feed them banana, cucumber, eggplant, mango, oil palm fruits, pears, pawpaw, tomatoes etc. Good food not only ensures the proper growth of snails but also ensures that they get enough calcium for growing shells.
Generally, within a year most of the snails reach marketing size. Some snails take more time for growing so separate the big ones from the small ones. Snail has a good market demand and price. You can easily sell the snails in your local market. Snail meat consuming rate is growing very fast throughout the globe. You can sell to market women, households, restaurants, fast food eateries, beer pubs, hotels, etc.
Snail farming is absolutely a lucrative business idea. The initial investment is low, required space or labor is low and you can do this business along with your current profession. New business starters should read books and visit snail farm to gain more knowledge on snail farming.
You can get our total snail farm package. This manual includes the following:
- Sample Snail Farming Business Plan in Nigeria
- Sample Snail Farming Feasibility Study
- Snail Rearing Manual/Guide
How to Start a Snail Farm in Nigeria © www.businessplan.com.ng