Many entrepreneurs in West Africa particularly in Nigeria is unaware of this lucrative business of snail farming and they are running after blogging, Yahoo Yahoo business forgotten that snail farming is another goldmine lying untapped.
The demand for this type of farming products in Nigeria is also in a large demand. In Kenya, Ghana, and several other African countries, the demand for snails also sits on a high margin which is a good sign that who ever starts this business of snail farming will grow rich in a matter of short time.
Generally millions of households around the world prepare snail meals in their various homes. They also use them in party meals, events, and other occasions.
So today we will delve into how to start this business and what takes to grow it successfully.
What Is Snail Farming About if I May Ask?
Snail farming, also know as heliculture, is the process of raising land snails for food or other purposes by humans. Generally, their flesh can be used as edible escargot, their slime in cosmetics, and their eggs for human consumption as a type of caviar.
Snails belong to a molluscan class Gastropoda, that has a coiled shell large enough for the animal to retract completely into. But when snails are been referred to, the focus isn’t only on land snails, but also to thousands of species of sea snails and freshwater snails.
The purpose of this article is to focus on land snails because, they’re the most widely used for snail farming.
How To Setup Your Snail Farm
1). Location And Environment For The Snail Farm:
Because of the high dehydration level of snails, the farm must be located in a less windy environment else, the moisture-loss rate of the snails would be high, which would subsequently lead to a highly dehydrated state for the animal. Keeping them away from windy environments would prevent them from losing water quickly.
The perfect environment for your snail farm would be an area with adequate trees (vegetation), usually located downhill. Planting crops like mangoes, bananas, and a few others around the farm would be wise, to reduce the impact of any winds skimming through the snail farm on the snails.
2). The Right Soil Type For Your Snails:
Not all soil types are suitable for rearing land snails. Since the natural habitat of land snails is generally the soil, it’s important that the soil they’re raised on, has all the chemical substances and components that make it suitable for the snails to survive and fully mature.
An ideal soil that is suitable for rearing snails must be non-acidic, not water-logged, must be balanced, and must not be too dry. In the selection of the soil type, sandy and clayey soil must be totally avoided for your snail farm. What should be used is loamy soil that doesn’t hold too much water.
3). Sourcing For Snails:
When sourcing snails for your snail farm, the ideal location to get them are in the forests, bushes, or any vegetative environment that is partially dry and wet. This location is far too important. Avoid getting them from the markets because, a large exposure to sunlight would leave them highly dehydrated. Snails drink a lot of water, and an absence of adequate water supply can make them easily dehydrated, which could subsequently lead to infertility in the snails.
While getting the snails from the bushes may be the best option, many individuals will not be able to pull through with this. What then you can do is to buy the land snail eggs from a market, then put coco-yam leaves in a plastic bowl with wet sand in it, and leave them to hatch. Within 21 to 28 days, the eggs would have fully hatched, and you’d have a lot of fertile snails ready for your snail farm.
If you’re going to get them from the bushes, the best way to do this is to clear a small expanse of land during a rainy season, then dress it up with fruits, vegetables, and other snail foods that snails generally find enticing and can’t resist, in the evening, everyday between 4pm to 6pm. Later in the night before 9pm, you can head back to the spot and pick up the snails gathered there that are great for rearing.
Before purchasing any snail eggs, it’s important you’re very familiar with the types of snails suitable for rearing as stated above, and should know what it would take to raise them.
4). The Snailery (The Snail House):
Depending on the size of your proposed snail farm, your snailery could be covered with a box, for a patch of fence-protected ground
If your snail farm is going to have a lot snails, you can make a concrete pen with soil, or dig a trench of about 10 inches deep, then cover it with wires or a screen to prevent your snails from getting out. This move would keep them from becoming pests when their population begins to explode because of their extremely high reproduction rate.
Ensure the snailery is a dark and cool place. This is important because snails prefer those environments. Also make sure the humidity levels of the snailery doesn’t fall to levels dangerous to snails. One great way to regulate the temperature of the snailery is to use wet leaves or clothes.
5). Harvesting Your Snails:
Your snails can be harvested into containers, bowls, boxes, baskets, or through other means. It’s important that during the harvest process they are handled with care, because of their high fragility. Because of this, it’s important that every container the snails are harvested into shouldn’t exceed 10 kilograms, so they can be easily convened.
Also, your snails should be harvested only when they’ve reached full maturity, so you can sell them for a good price and make high returns from your investment. Check the brim of their shells to know if they are well mature. The brim should be harder and generally thicker than every other parts of the shells if they’ve matured enough.
Lastly, keep a good portion of the snails for subsequent reproduction. Selling off everything in the market is a no-brainer for any farmer.
Another one what Do They Feed On?
Snails in general eat plants, fungi, and algae. A great way to handle their diet is to provide them with plant matter and vegetables such as carrots, lettuce, cucumbers, and a host of other vegetable meals.
They can also feed on fruits such as mangoes, tomatoes, paw paw, cucumber, banana, and more.
Market research in shows that prices of snail ranges from 50 Naira ($0.4) in a market. Depending on the inflation rate of various countries and location, selling 200,000 snails could result in a revenue of 10 million Naira ($50,000). Though this value may be for large producers, smaller producers can also sell mature snails at this price by targeting fair sale quantities.
What Challenges Can One Face In Snail Farming?
The major challenge of raising snails is that uncontrolled rearing can lead to a pest break-out. Snails can be invasive and become threatening to crops. They consume over 500 types of crops, and can single-handedly destroy a farm’s products.
While raising them, make sure their enclosures are well secured to keep them from escaping, and to protect them from predators like birds and other land animals.
So am concluding with this, snail farming can be lucrative and also yield an unending cash flow to any interested person who want to face the challenges in it, know this there is no business in the world today that does not have risk and loses it depends on the determination and strong will to succeed.
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