Snail farming in Nigeria is one of the most lucrative, cost effective, easy to run business practices that requires very little capital to run compared to other forms of agricultural practices. Snail farming in Nigeria is one of the most neglected farming practices in Nigeria yet the opportunities abound. Snails are more popular in African countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa. The opportunities are massive likewise the potentials. Unlike other forms of agricultural practices that require you building mighty structures and moving far away into the forest, snail farming doesn’t require massive land spaces and confinement. Infact you can start a commercial snail farm at the back of your backyard. It requires little spaces, It’s environmental friendly, requires little man power and the feeding are cheap or almost free.
What is a Snail?
What is Snail: Snails are animals with shells that have the ability to retract into their shell and also craw. The local name for snail in Nigeria is Igbin or Eju. There are so many species/breeds of snails in Nigeria and the world, but the types we are looking at here are the ones that are suitable for commercial viable for Snail Farming in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
Snail is an animal a mollusc with a single spiral shell into which the whole body can be withdrawn. They are usually found in green vegetations.
What is snail farming?
Snail farming is the process of breeding or rearing snails. Snail farming is also known as Heliciculture or heliculture.
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FACTS ABOUT SNAIL AND SNAIL FARMING
- Snails produces a thick slime which protects and gives them the ability to crawl on sharp object like the edge of a razor and not get hurt.
- Snails are Hermaphrodite that is they posses both the male and female reproductive system
- Garden snails have up to 14,175 teeth! They are all located on their tongue called the radula
- The largest snail specie is the Achatina Achatina (AA) popular in Nigeria
- Snails have the ability to hibernate during extreme cold or dry season. They form a protective covering which can sustain them for months
- Snails are nocturnal animals that is they are more active at night.
- Snails are very good sources of protein.
- Because of the suction created by their slime, a snail can crawl upside down
- Snails are deaf they don’t have a sense of hearing that is they cannot hear, they only see, feel and smell
- Snails can live up to 20 years
ADVANTAGES OF SNAIL FARMING IN NIGERIA
- Snail shells serves as calcium used for animal feeds
- Snail farming require little land or space.
- Snail feeds are cheap and readily available
- Snail farming in Nigeria is not capital intensive
- Snail farming is easy to run
- Snail doesn’t require too much attention like other agricultural practices making it easy to run part time
- Snail farming requires little or no man power or labour
- Snail farming doesn’t constitute nuisance to the environment which is usually the case for other livestock farming in terms of noise and animal waste
- Quick growth, Snails are highly productive, can produce over 300 eggs at once
- Snail meat is rich in protein, to its low level of cholesterol and fat.
- Snail farming can easily be combined or incorporated with other farming practices
- Snails are basically harmless creatures
- Snail farming is a good source of income for the family.
- Snails have Low mortality rate
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BENEFITS OF SNAIL FARMING IN NIGERIA
- It’s easy to run
- It is highly lucrative
- It is environmental friendly
- Snails are highly productive
- Low in fat and cholesterol
- Highly medicinal and used for health related products
- Has traditional healing benefits
- A good export opportunity
- It contains iron, vitamin A, calcium, magnesium and has very low fat
EQUIPMENT AND TOOLS USED FOR SNAIL FARMING IN NIGERIA
- Tank for water
- Watering cans
- Hand trowel
- Weighing scale (digital preferably)
- Pipe or hose
SNAIL BREEDS/SPECIES IN SNAIL FARMING IN NIGERIA
Popular Types of Snail Used for Snail farming
When it comes to snail farming in Nigeria, there are 3 popular types of snail species/breeds common for snail breeding in Nigeria. There are often 3 major types of snails used for snail breeding in Nigeria and Africa in general this is due to their commercial viability.
- Archachatina Marginata (AM)
- Achatina Achatina (AA)
- Achatina Fulica (AF)
Archachatina Marginata (AM)
The Archachatina Marginata AM is peculiar to West Africa and it’s popularly known as the giant African snail. It is the largest of all the snail specie . They can grow up to 20cm long in size and can produce up to 40 eggs in a single clutch and they can do produce 3 to 4 clutches in a year and can live up to 10 years. It usually takes between 21 to 40 days for the Archachatina Marginata (AM) eggs to hatch, The AM is harder and bigger compared to other species of snails. Archachatina Marginata (AM) tales about 8 to 9 months before it starts the laying of eggs. It is usually prized because of its large size.
Achatina Achatina (AA)
Achatina Achatina (AA) is d 2nd largest in the world and the second most popular breed in Nigeria and other countries and can lay up to 200 to 500 eggs in a single clutch and can lay up to 3 to 5 clutches in a year, it also takes 21 to 28 days for the Achatina Achatina (AA) eggs to hatch. It takes between 4 to 6 months before the Achatina Achatina (AA) starts laying of eggs.
Achatina Fulica (AF)
Achatina Fulica (AF): The AF is the 3rd largest and can lay up to 200 to 500 eggs in a clutch and can produce up to 3 to 5 clutches a year. It is the smallest of the breeding type of snail. It is also the third specie used in snail breeding in Nigeria.
PROCESSES INVOLVED IN SNAIL FARMING IN NIGERIA – HELICULTURE
1. Education: this is where many farmers fail because they hardly know much about the business they are venturing into. So first of all, get all the knowledge about the business, understand the business idea, breed type, likes problem you might face, disease, feeds, plants and vegetable, do’s and don’ts, marketing, viablity and the different challenges that may arise in the process of running the business. Once you gathered enough knowledge about snail farming in Nigeria. You can also visit other snail farms to get an idea of operating a snail farm. Then you can then move on to the next stage.
2. Physical Environment of the Farm: One of the most important factors in snail farming is the physical environment of your snail farm. Your snail farm must be properly chosen and selected and situated in an environment that is free from predators, diseases and bacteria that may be harmful to your snail farm. Make sure there are plants or tress to shield the snails from direct sunlight and winds.
3. The Soil Type and texture: The soil plays a major role in the life cycle of the snail, because the snail derives the calcium and other nutrients needed for the formation of its shell from the soil and also the soil plays a major role in the hatching of the snail eggs. Because snails bury their eggs inside the soil for hatching. So therefore the best soil used for snail breeding is the type that has low water retention capacity that is, it doesn’t retain too much water. A perfect soil type for snail breeding is sandy-loamy soil.
4. The pen for snail: When building a pen for snail farming, you need to ask yourself the type of snail farming you intend to practice, are you looking at an intensive or extensive farm system. Are you looking at a very big farm, a commercial farm, free range or a caged system?
5. Sourcing for snails: Snails can easily be sourced either from the forest or from reputable snail farms around you. Make sure they are very active and they haven’t been exposed to too much sunlight to avoid stress which might affect their survival and breeding capability. The best time to source for snail in the forest during the raining season, snails are known to be more active in the night and morning when it rains.
6. Building the Snail House (Snailery) – : Snail houses can vary depending on the type of snail breeding practices you intend to practice and the amount of available space at your disposal. It could vary from a little cupboard space at the back of your house to a room side pen to a full plot of land or more depending on your capacity.
When constructing a pen , you should avoid over population and give enough room for the snails to move around. Also make sure the spaces are well guarded to prevent them from attacks from rodents, ants and snakes and also to prevent the snails from escaping.
Make sure the pens are surrounded with plants that can serve as a cover crop because snails love cool and dark places.
7. Snail Foods and Feeding – Snails mostly feed on vegetables, plants and fruits. In modern farming, there are formulated feeds rich in calcium that has been specially prepared for snails which makes them grow faster. Snails feeds on a variety of crops like pawpaw leaves, cabbage and lettuce, okra leave, water leave, water melon, pawpaw, cucumber, banana and the list goes on.
8. Breeding the snail for market: Snails takes averagely between 6 to 12 months to get to marketable size.
9. Marketing of your snail in Nigeria: Currently the demand for snail outweighs the supply. So the market is wide and readily available as the snail farmers are not currently meeting demands. Your target markets are the market women in the markets, snail farmers, pepper soup joints, restaurants, hotels, supermarkets and snail lovers who cook them for special delicacies.
SIMPLE ANALYSIS FOR SNAIL FARMING IN NIGERIA
If you start a snail farm with 1,000 matured snails and they lay say 100 eggs (highly reduced) each. Remember that snails can go 3 clusters in a year.
Equals to 100 x 3 = 300 each (that is 300 snails each in a year) but for the purpose of this let’s put it at 150 snails per year.
Cost of 1,000 snails for breeding = 1,000 x 400 = 400,000 (four Hundred Thousand Naira)
For 150 snails for 1,000 foundation stock = 150,000 snails in a year.
If after 1 year you decide to sell 100,000 snails out of the 150,000 snails, you have a total of 100,000 x 100 Naira per snail (Highly reduced price)
N10,000,000 (that is ten million naira)
Is that amazing?
So what are you still waiting for? Start your snail farm today.
If you need more information, please comment below.