How to Start Snail Farming in Nigeria

Snail farming in Nigeria is a very popular and lucrative agricultural business individuals can venture into due to its  low capital intensity and presently it is providing one of the finest opportunity to make money within a short period of time. Snail has a huge demand in Nigeria market because of its unique taste and nutritional value.

Snail meat contain a high amount of protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin A and very low in fat. Snail pie is recommended as a cheap source of protein and iron for school-age children and young mothers and could contribute in the fight against iron deficiency anaemia.

Another vital reason for snail farming business in Nigeria is it’s economic value. Some people consider the snail farming as a good money spinning venture. You can make good earning from snail farming within a very short time.

“The land snail is a readily available and affordable source of animal protein, inhabits a lot of green forest and swamps of most developing countries including Nigeria,  “It is also increasingly cultivated, although in the West it is more familiar as an unusual pet than a pie.

Land snails belongs to the class of Molluscan, Gastropod popularly known as ‘Congo Meat‘ in many parts of Africa. Nigerian’s called it Eju or Igbin. There are so many species of snails but the types of snails in Nigeria we are looking at here are the ones that are suitable for commercial Snail Farming in Africa.

Commercial snail farming has become an alternative for livestock farmers as it offers them new business opportunities. Snail farming is thriving at the moment in Nigeria because it was neglected and overlooked.

Snail breeding can yield quick money if the farmer understands the nitty-gritty of the modern techniques and type of species that are in high demand in Nigeria, Europe, USA and other developed countries.

In terms of cost and time, snail farming is a low risk business and profitable unlike many other livestock businesses, snail farming requires very little start up and operating costs. Someone can start with N50, 000 to N150, 000 depending on the size of your farm.

Advantages of Snail Farming in Nigeria

The main benefits of snail farming in Nigeria are listed below.

  • Snails are hermaphroditic in nature and highly reproductive. Both male and female reproductive organs are available in each snail. As a result the snails can reproduce very fast.
  • One snail can lay eggs 6 time in a year. Each time they lay more than 80 to 100 eggs.
  • Snail meat is better than any other red meat. And it is enriched with highly nutrition ingredients.
  • Snail meat is high in iron, protein, calcium and phosphorus and very low in cholesterol, sodium and fat. As a result, snail meat is highly recommended by the dietitians and doctors for the patients and general people.
  • Snail meat is very delicious and widely popularly accepted all over the Nigeria. And there is no religious or tribal taboo consuming the snail meat.
  • Snail has a great market all over the Nigeria and in the West African regions.
  • The business tasks related to snail farming in Nigeria like financing, producing, servicing, processing, sorting, transporting and marketing can make a great sector of employment of unemployed people.
  • Domestic snail farming in Nigeria can meet up the family nutrition demands.
  • Commercial snail production can decrease the importation of frozen meat or fish from the foreign country. This can save money and make the economy of Nigeria strong.
  • Through widely commercial snail farming in Nigeria, some extra income can be made along with meeting up the national demand.
  • Establishing a snail farm in Nigeria by using modern technologies, require less capital investment and produce much within a very short period. Running costs also very low.
  • Risk of losses are less compared to other types of livestock farming system.
  • Every parts of snail body is usable.
  • You can make ten times more profit from snail farming in Nigeria within a year without any risk.
  • Snail farming is not time consuming and there are no stress, odour, noise and irritation.
  • You can easily do snail farming business with your current occupation.

How to Start Snail Farming in Nigeria

For snail farming in Nigeria, you have to go through some step by step process. I have described some steps here for starting commercial snail farming business in Nigeria.

Appropriate Soil for Snail Farming In Nigeria

Let bear in mind that soil is the main habitat of snail. For successful snail farming in Nigeria, the selected land for this business must have to contain some of the components and chemical substances which are necessary for surviving the snails. For this reason, all types of soil are not suitable for commercial snail farming.

The shell of the snail is mainly calcium and they derive most of the calcium from the soil. They drink water from the soil and also lay eggs on the soil. For successful farming you must have to select a such suitable place with availability of all types of necessary facilities for the snails.

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 soil, loamy soil with low water holding capacity is perfect in for snail farming in Nigeria. Clayey soil and acidic soil must be avoided.

However, snails are easily dehydrated. Dryness occurs in snails due to moisture loose in snail. Wind increase the rate of moisture loose in snails. So, it will be advisable to select a good area or location  for the establishment of the snail farming business.

Suitable Area or Environment for Snail Farming in Nigeria 

For preventing the snails from losing water form their body quickly, you have to place the snail farm in wind protected place void of any wind interference. An area with many trees can make perfect environment for snail farming in Nigeria.

How To Start Snail Rearing In Nigeria

To start up a snail rearing in Nigeria, 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  they are easily dehydrated and this stresses them out, and reduce their fertility capacity.

As an intending snail farmer  you can 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 this attract them to where you just cleared after three (3) hours you will be able pick up snails suitable for rearing. Repeat the procedure until you get enough quantity you desire to start with.

Another techniques you can adopt is that you can pick snail eggs littered in the market place where it is sold. Do the following to obtain the best result for your snail rearing, 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 coco-yam leaf. Between 21 to 28 days, the eggs would hatch into baby snails, You will start feeding them and gradually  they will developed and you raise a snail farm you so desire.

How To Construct The Snailery

Snailery is very essential for snail farming in Nigeria. A good snail farmer keeps the snails safe and productive  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 wet cloth regularly to regulate the temperature during dry/sunny period.

Also, the wire is useful in keeping away rats and snakes or any other predators from eating the snails in your snail farm. But aside from these bigger predators, you should be cautious of the smaller ones like ants and termites. Your construction must have these predators in mind.

But if you want to be rearing the snail in a small quantity you can use fence protected ground, patch, sheltered from the wind or a covered box or plastics can easily be used. however, the most important thing is that you must make sure that the snails are not dehydrated because it can lead to the cons in snail farming.

For breeding, you will need the following to actualised positive result. Equipped area of land that will be enough for your cultivation. Special terrariums for gastropods. Soil fertilised with various useful elements, food for growing mollusks, twigs, and leaves.

How To Feed A Snail (Snail Feeding)

Snails especially Achatina mainly feeds on green leaves and fruits to truly utilised thier potentials, though they can feed on other ranges of foods, still it is advisable for a potential snail farmer to always feed their snails with leaves, fruits, formula from the feed stores amongst others. Aside from food to grow tissues, snails need calcium to grow shells.

Food ensure the proper growth of snails. Provided food help the snails grow their tissues and they also need calcium for growing shells.

Leaves: The following leaves are advisable for a snail farmer to feed their snail with Coco-yam leaves, pawpaw leaves, okra leaves, cassava leaves, eggplant leaves, cabbage and lettuce leaves.

Fruits: fruits like Mango, eggplant, pawpaw, banana, tomatoes, oil palm fruits, pears. and cucumber are advisable.

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.

One hundred thousand snails after a year or two sold at the rate of N50 each (highly reduced price) will give you about N5 million! Isn’t that a good investment?

Snail Harvesting

The snail must be matured before it can be harvested, it is not advisable or even economical to harvest before the appropriate time. To be sure if your snails are already matured enough, check the brim of the shell, if the brim of the snail is thicker and harder than other parts of the shell it means the snail is good for sales. Some snails take more time for growing.

Please do not sell all the matured snails in your farm to your customers. Ensure not to harvest them all because they are the ones that will serve as the base stock for your snail farm that is why it is important to save part.

Nonetheless, 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. So, exporting in international market can make more money.

It is most convenient to harvest snails in wet weather. To do this, it is necessary to lay out slate sheets where snails will be collected. You can determine this by the edge of the sole (when it becomes firm, the snail will no longer grow). The collection is performed weekly, usually in spring or autumn.

After this, the gastropods must be kept in the cage for seven days so that their digestive system completely gets rid of the soil. While this process, snails receive no food or water. With a temperature regime of 5 degrees and sufficient coolness, they can survive for 2 months.

Important Factors To Consider when Starting A Snail Farming 

The following factors should be considered when choosing a site for snail farming

  • Soil Type
  • Pests and Diseases
  • Source
  • Climate
  • Wind Speed and Direction
  • Safety
  • Wind and Environment

1. Soil Type

One of the factors you have to consider before embarking on snail farming is Soil,Soil plays a major role in snail’s housing. Soil Composition, water content and texture are important factors you have to consider in selecting a site. The snail’s shell is made up of calcium which is derived from the soil and from feed. Snails also derive their water requirements mostly from the soil. Snails lay their eggs by the digging the soil and to rest during the dry season.

Because of all this factors it is crucial that the soil is loose and that its calcium and water content is high. Clay soil cannot be used because it becomes waterlogged in the rainy season and compacts during the dry season while also sandy soil is not advisable because of its low water holding capacity.

The most desirable soil for snail farming is a soil with high organic matter it can support the growth and development of the snails. This can be determined by checking the soil if it is a good growth of coco-yam, tomatoes and leafy vegetables. 

Snails love to dig into the soil and ingest it. So you have to provide a good soil that favours snail growth and provides some of their nutrition because Lack of access to good soil may result in fragile shells even if you are giving them a well-balanced feed; the snails’ growth may hindered. If you are using a container for your snail farming you should make sure that you are changing it every three month because of Chemical changes.

2. Pests And Diseases

termites, lizards, snakes, ants, chickens, geese and turkeys are the common enemies of snails and should be perverted by all means. There are not many diseases identified in snail but fungus and bacterial diseases which are spread by contact have been noticed in overcrowded pens.

In this dry season, it will be ideal to irrigate the snail farm regularly or else the snail will hibernate. If there are drought, snails can hibernate up to two years in the case for desert snails. This is also one the disadvantages of snail farming.

3. Source

Snail source is an important aspects in this process of farming, it is sensible to get snails directly from the forest or buy a reliable dealer in the market. The forest techniques could be really tricky, snails can be gotten from the forest with a base techniques, clear a small portion of land during rainy season and drop fruits like pineapple, pawpaw, plantain, and banana within 4/5pm in the evening. In the evening, come back at 7/8pm you will pick up snails suitable for farming. You can repeat the process until you get the reasonable amount you so desire.

4. Wind speed and direction

The second factor to consider is how wind accelerates because it affects the moisture content of the soil. To prevent snails from drying out, snail farm should be situated in sites that are protected from the wind. You can site your farm in a downhill sites, preferably those with good tree cover to reduce wind impact. If you Plant trees around snail pens will also help to reduce the wind speed and improve the micro-climate. It will also protect the snails from scorching sun or torrential rain.

5. Temperature and humidity

Snails are cold-blooded, they thrive best in areas with moderate temperatures and high humidity also when the temperature rises snails go into dormancy during the dry season this is one of the problem of snail farming. So the relative air humidity of your snail farm should not be near saturation, because it would encourage the development of harmful bacteria and fungi. In outdoor situations, it is clearly impossible to control climatic factors.

However, the magnitude of temperature and humidity fluctuations is reduced in areas of relatively undisturbed forest or fairly dense vegetation cover. Such sites should be preferred to open grassland or farmland areas.

6. Location and environment 

The most suitable spot to locate your snail farm is a low plain, downhill site. The farm should not be exposed to excessive wind hence the location would dry out and dehydrate your snails. It is best to have trees like banana or plantain planted around your snail farm.

Depending on the scale of snail farming you want to go into, your snails can be reared in a large covered box if you are considering small scale snail farming, or in a concrete pen with soil flooring if you want to rear snails on a large scale

Healthy Benefits Of Snail

For snails have come out of their shells and are basking in the glory of being the new star superfood. And here are six reasons why snails should be blazing a trail to your plate.

1. Protein

Protein is essential for building and repairing muscle, and is also better at filling you up than carbs and fat. Many people look to seafood as an easy source of protein, but actually, snails have more. Snail contains 16.1 g or 32% DV protein. This amount is more than all sources except mutton  which reached 27 grams in 100 grams.

Protein has a major role to speed up biological reactions. As a mean of transport and storage, the protein contained in hemoglobin and myoglobin helps to transport oxygen in erythrocytes. For mechanical support, the form of fibers of the proteins called collagen has a function to maintain the strength and durability of the bones and skin.

2. Iron

Snail is high in iron (about 3.5 mg or 19% of DV). Iron is a vital substance needed by the body to ensure the availability of the required number of blood cells every day. In the body these substances is very important for our survival because it helps to transport oxygen into the tissues of the lungs and transports electrons in the formation of energy in cells.

When transporting oxygen, iron need the help from other nutrients such as protein which later merged to creates hemoglobin (in red blood cells) and myglobin (in the muscle fibers).

Snails are also a good source of iron, essential for building red blood cells and carrying energy around the body. A lack of iron can lead to extreme fatigue and anaemia.

3. Vitamins

snail contain a lot of vitamin like vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B1, B3, B6 and B12. Vitamin A is helpful to the eyes, vitamin E may act as an antioxidant. while, Vitamin B1, B3, B6 and Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin that is needed to prevent and control diabetes.

Snail contains vitamin that dominate vitamins such as vitamins A, E, niacin, and folate. Vitamin A is good for the eyes, vitamin E is good for cell regeneration and skin care, niacin has a role in the carbohydrates metabolism to produce energy, and folate is good for the pregnant women.

Often cited as the ‘energy vitamin’, B-12 is needed for making red blood cells, keeping the nervous system healthy, releasing energy from the food we eat and processing folic acid. Luckily enough, snails have lots of it.

4. Magnesium

Snails are also a good source of magnesium, which our bodies need to maintain a normal blood pressure, strengthen bones and also keep your heartbeat regular. Magnesium plays important roles in the body, which is needed for more than 325 enzymatic reactions, including the synthesis of fats, proteins and nucleic acids, neural activity, muscle contraction and relaxation, cardiac activity and bone metabolism.

United States Department of Health and Human Services recommends the intake of 400 mg of magnesium per day for men aged 19-30 years and 420 mg for those over 30 years old. As for women under 30 years recommended intake is 300 mg of magnesium per day.

5. Selenium

Selenium are important minerals and nutrients to fight diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Selenium is synergistic with vitamin E, which means that both are powerful antioxidants that help to prevent the ageing and hardening of tissues through oxidation.

Mineral selenium is essential for many body functions and can be found in every cell of the body, which is mainly in the kidneys, liver, spleen, pancreas, and testes. Snail has also been said to be reach in Selenium, Although we do not need much in our bodies. But we need it to keep fit and make our immune system stronger while it also protect our cells against damage.

6. Omega-3

Snail contains Omega-3 fatty acids, Omega -3 fatty acid s are types of polyunsaturated fat that can be produced by our body and it is important and essential because it forms EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) and ALA (a-linolenic acid).

The American Heart Association (AHA) has recommended that a person must meet 5-10 percent of daily calories from omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 needs for healthy adults is 1-3 grams per day.

7. Choline

Snail contains choline. Choline is an important water-soluble vitamins, which are often classified by the vitamin B group. Choline has many important functions, including being an integral part of the cell membrane, the raw material for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and donors to the methyl group is required by a number of vital processes in the body.

The liver is an organ that can produce some choline, but most needed by the body. So it must be obtained from food sources. The recommendation for daily choline intake for men is 550 mg, and 425 mg for the woman, while the snail contains 65 mg.

Therefore, snail meat contains protein, fat (mainly polyunsaturated fatty acid), iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, vitamins A, B6, B12, K and folate. It also contains the amino acids arginine and lysine at higher levels than in whole egg.

It also contains healthy essential fatty acids such as linoleic and linolenic acids. The high-protein, low-fat content of snail meat makes it a healthy alternative food.

Benefit Of Snail Farming 

1. Snail farming is not high capital intensive

2. Snail is a good source of protein.

3. It contains low fat & cholesterol levels.

4. It maintains low mortality

5. It’s a Good foreign exchange earner

6. Food

7. The shell

8. Traditional medicine. Amongst other

Pros and Cons of Snail Farming

Pros of snail farming

  • Snails have a great demand.
  • Snail farming has a bright future
  • As long as responsible snail raising and consumption continues, the high demand of snails will rest assured.
  • Nowadays there is a huge concern about eating natural and healthy.
  • Other meats have nothing on snails
  • The great quality and nutritional value of snail meat can compete with poultry, pork and beef.
  • Snails reproduce in large quantities and adapt to most climates
  • Feeding snails is cheap and easy
  • Snail food is mostly vegetables. To make them grow larger, there are low-cost wholesale flours enriched with calcium.

Disadvantages of Snail Farming

Lack of acknowledge on

  • Raising snails: understanding their biology and conditions they need.
  • Laws and regulations on your country regarding to the raise, sell, export and import of snails.
  • How to start a business of this kind.
  • Dealing with middlemen.

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