Snail meat is considered to be white meat and of great importance to dietitians. It is highly recommended by nutritionists and medical personnel to persons with various health disorders.
Snail meat is low in cholesterol, rich in protein, calcium, iron, and necessary amino acids needed by the human body. It is highly recommended for persons with high blood pressure, and heart related sicknesses, and also useful for weight loss programs.
Snail farming is an aspect of livestock farming that produces much gain to the individuals involved in it, and it is a business that is not saturated with investors yet.
Snail farming can be done in any good environment as the prospective entrepreneurs do not compulsorily need to secure lands before they start up the business since snails do not require too much space for survival.
You can start this business in your backyard or any available space in your house or compound, as it excreta isn’t offensive to humans, unlike those of other livestocks.
This guide is intended to provide you with the steps required to start this lucrative business.
Snail farming is a low capital intensive business unlike other livestock businesses.
With as little as 50,000 Naira or slightly above 100,000 naira you can start the business. Compared to other livestocks farming, snails are cheap to buy and the operational cost of keeping the farm is also low.
More clarification will be given below.
The most popular breed commonly found and good for export is called the archachatina marginata , which is often referred to as african giant snails. These snails are often found during raining seasons in damp places like beneath leaves, stones, on trees and any other moist place available.
The african giant snails are majorly sought after for export and local consumption, due to its delicate and soft body and hard shell that can be used for other by-products, majorly cosmetics and medicine.
Good stocks for breeding can be found in local market places, especially at rural areas.
Snails can be purchased at cheap prices during the rainy season, as it is sold in large quantities.
Whatever location you are in, you can get snails during raining seasons without having to purchase any at the market place, by picking them from bushes around you.
For commercial rearing, snails live in pens or a small cage space where you cover with good loamy soil, and over lay it with fresh leaves which should be changed from time to time.
Also, the pen has to be built in such a way that it doesn’t expose the snails to so much sunlight, as sunlight exposure makes them dehydrated and die off.
It is better to build your pen where enough shade is available to protect your snails.
Build pens with wire protection around it to wade off predators like soilder ants, rats, termites and snakes depending on where you have the pens.
Snails are easy to feed. They can be fed with fruits like bananas, carrot, tomatoes, eggplants, pawpaw etc. You can also feed them with vegetables like egg plant leaves, pawpaw leaves, cabbage or lettuce and you can drop little soft left-over foods for them. You can add snail feeds if you so desire but this is not compulsory.
Keeping the snails on good soil is paramount for their growth because she get water and other nutrients from the soil.
You can also use artificial boiler feeds used for chicken to fatten up the snail faster and make them market-ready in due time.
Snails are hermaphrodites, due to their dual sex organs. However, a snail has to be mated by another snail before it can lay eggs.
Snails usually mate in a good population of 100, but when their population is too dense, it doesn’t encourage mating and too dense a population makes the snails dwarfish.
Snails can lay up to 80 to 100 eggs at once and they reproduce often during the year especially during raining seasons.
The eggs lay by snails hatch within 3-6 weeks and it gets matured for mating within 6months to 16months.
Snails get fully marketable and matured in one to two years.
Snails are easily marketable, especially when your snails are of the right size. It sells faster during the dry season when it is scarce than during the rainy season when they are in abundance.
It is advisable for to take advantage of dry seasons to sell your snails at good prices. You make twice as much money by selling big snails in dry season than wet seasons.
Snails can be supplied to businesses like restaurants, hotels, bars and joints, event planners, caterers etc as who use the snails to prepare various delicacies with it for clients.
We have a growing population who want to live healthier. Snail meat is better and healthier than any kind of red meat available in the market, but the scarcity of the meat in the market place makes it a rare choice not readily available.
Advantages of snail farming
1. Every part of snail is useful, either for food, cosmetics, medicine and healthy feeds for other animals.
2. Snails are scares, which makes the demand higher than its supplies, which helps the sellers have much gain especially during the dry seasons.
3. Snail farming requires low start up capital.
4. Unsaturated market makes the business so viable and lucrative.
5. Unlike other livestock businesses with odours due to excreta from the livestock, snails produces odourless excreta, and their pen is easy to maintain.
6. Snail farming can be another way of gaining passive income aside your regular job, since it is less time consuming and gives you opportunity to go about your other businesses.
Snails can be exported to different countries of the world, as it is a good export commodity that is highly sought after for various uses.
Disadvantages of snail farming
1. Weather conditions affect the snails. Too much exposure to sunlight and winds dehydrates the snails.
Avoid locating your pens in areas that would affect your farming.
2. Predators pose a treat to snails. If you are going into the business on a large scale, you have to secure your land or pens very well from snakes and other dangerous termites harmful to your snails.
Every part of snail body is usable.
Lots of profits can be made from snail farming within a year with minimal risk and snails have high adaptability and survival rate.
You can take out the snail form its shell and sell to different end users for consumption and also sell the shells separately to companies who use it for other applications.
The lowest amount you can purchase a snail is N200 multiplying by 200 snails = N40, 000
Given that each snail after mating will produce 80 eggs, therefore 200 snails producing 80eggs will give you 16,000 eggs. 16,000 eggs at maturity with minimal loss will make your business grow from 200 snails to 16,200 snails in less than a year. At maturity 16,000 snails sold for the minimum amount of N200 will give you a gain of 3,200,000 Naira.
The above illustration shows you how lucrative snail farming can be, and it has a market that is not yet saturated with many entrepreneurs and this provides you the opportunity to dominate your locality by supplying to high end users as soon as they mature.
As an unemployed youth, you can go into this business which requires little capital to start even as you search for a job. The business can grow and you might discover that you don’t need a job after all. Instead, you become an employer of labour.
Be motivated to start small, snails produces rapidly and grow almost effortlessly. You can start with the above illustration and watch your business expand to great heights.
See you at the top! Good luck.
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About The Writer: This article was written by Salome Precious. She is senior content developer at myafribusiness.com. She is an accountant by training and a business enthusiast by passion.
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