Snail farming is the process of raising land snails mainly for human consumption and to obtain snail slime for the production of cosmetics or snail eggs. In this article we will help you get started with Snail farming business. We will look at snail farming for beginners and those who want to start and make profit.
Snail farming is easy to start and manage. It is also very profitable. I believe that many people are not into the business of snail farming because they think they can easily pick up snails from the forest once there is a slight rain fall or it would never be a source of revenue for them. But I can tell you right away and indeed assure you that snail farming is a big business not only in Nigeria, but world wide. Below are the reasons for my assertion:
1. It requires small amount of capital to start compared with other animal husbandry such as poultry, fishing and cattle rearing, etc.
2. Feed Snails eat mainly fruits and leaves so you do not need to go far in order to feed the snails . Snails eat the fruits and leaves of the following: guava, mango, banana,, paw-paw, cucumber, sweet potatoes, etc.
3. Demand. The market for snails is available all over the country, either as meat or for other uses such as for the production of cosmetics and/or drugs.
4. Snail farming does not stress you up since it does not require much from you, only your time, attention and efficient management. Where snails are reared does not smell unlike poultry farming.
5. Snail reproduction. Snails reproduce eggs up to 80 and above during reproduction years and since there is no difference between male and female because each snail can fertilise the other and they begin laying eggs 8-12 months after becoming sexually active
6. Risks of loosing your snails as a result of disease is much less compared with other types of livestock farming.
7. Unlike other type of business, the disadvantages of snail farming is very low, almost non existence for a typical farmer.
There are even more reasons why you should go into snail farming business –snail by-products.
1. Snail shell: This can be used for traditional medicine, ornament, beads, decorations, etc.
2. Snail eggs: This can be used for various types of soup
3. Snail slime: The mucus produced by snail can be used to treat ulcer, cough and for the production of cosmetics, etc.
Steps required for starting snail farming business in Nigeria:
Steps required for starting snail farming business in Nigeria:
1. Suitable location
Look for suitable environment that should be conducive for snail farming. Generally speaking, snails need water always and if they get dry, they are likely to die. So you must get an area that there is water and not windy in excess since too much wind can bring about dryness. So it is advisable you construct a snaileries in wind protected environment.
2. Prepare your business plan
Business plan is important since it states in clear terms what you will be doing over a period of time. For example, it breaks down how much it is going to cost you to start the snail farming business, the scale of your operation, demand estimation, wages of your employees, if any, estimated sales, etc. Without a business plan, it is difficult for you to know , for example, how much it will cost you to start a snail business, particularly if you are going to do it in a large scale, where to borrow money or even your market, and the profit you expect.
3. Select the right soil for snail farming
The soil selected must have some elements of chemical substances that are necessary to make snails survive, if necessary get an expert to test the soil before you start your snail farming. The soil must be suitable to enable the snail derive calcium, drink water and lay eggs. For you to farm successfully, you must select the soil where all the necessary facilities for the snail’s survival are available.
4. Get the quantity of snails you can handle
You can make a conscious effort to pick snails from the forest since it is always better because they can easily adjust to the new environment than the farm breed snails, but because you cannot pick enough for commercial farming, it is advisable to buy from the market or a farm.
However, if you decide to pick from your garden, you can follow a simple process. During the rainy season, you can clear a portion of your garden and sprinkle spicy fruits to attract snails. Such fruits can include: banana, paw-paw, plantain, pineapple, etc. Do it late in the evening, and return in the night, after three hours, you will be surprised at the number of snails you can pick from your garden. Repeat the process everyday and at different locations, if luck is on you side, you will have enough to start your snail farming business. This is very valuable among snail farming techniques, to gather new snails.
5. Snail house (Snailery)
Here you rear your snails in a farm or use the intensive system, i.e. you construct a snail pen, use tank or even drum. This is recommended since you keep a close watch of the snails, lest they escape or attacked by wild reptiles or even insects. Whatever way you want to construct it. Use wire gauze to fence it to protect the snails from harm as well as prevent them from escaping. You can run snail farming at home, just construct the snail house close to your home as long as the soil is good.
6. Selecting the snails for your farm
It is important that you select the right species of snails. In Nigeria, we have the following types:
- Pond snail
- Apple snail
- Sulawesi snail
- Sebra Nerite snail
- Tracked Nerite snail
- Horned Nerite snail
For rearing purposes, it is necessary to start with the gaint Ghana snail or gaint tiger land snail (Known as Achatina Achatina snail) Also it is important to buy snails that are heavy, with hard shells and sexually mature.
7. How to feed your snail
Feeding snails is not costly even if you are rearing them on commercial scale. Snails eat common fruits and leaves that are found in all the places such as paw paw, cucumber, cabbage, guava, banana, sweet potatoes, cassava tuber, maize chaff, tomatoes, cocoyam, etc., they eat both the fruits and the leaves.
8. Manage your snail
Good management means that you feed them on time, provide them with clean water, and frequently clean the feed and water containers. If you feed the snail at regular intervals and provide them with good environment, they hardly fall sick, so the risk of loosing them is minimal unlike other animal husbandry
9. Snail reproduction
Snails that are sexually matured fertilize each other irrespective of the fact whether it is male or female. Snails lay eggs in logs and the eggs hatch between 4 and 6 weeks. The baby snails should be separated from the adult snails to give them room to grow. It might take up to 18 months to 2 years for them to reach adulthood
When the snails mature, harvest them for sale. Do not harvest all but keep some so that they may breed further snails.
Marketing your snails is the arrangements you would have made since you started The arrangement is in the nature of contacting hotels, restaurants, eating joints and market women. If you contact well in advance, it would be easy to sell your snails.
The beauty of snail farming business is its low investment outlay and low running costs. The health benefits are also more reasons why the demand for snail will continue to rise.
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