Agriculture in Nigeria today is on the move with different areas to major in. One of the most lucrative of them is snail farming. It is very practical and yet to be fully explored in Nigeria. Here you’ll get all you need to know on how to start snail farming business in Nigeria.
Snail farming also known as heliciculture is the process of raising edible land snails, primarily for human consumption or cosmetic use. The meat and snail eggs can be consumed as escargot and as a type of caviar respectively. Mucus known as snail slime have medical properties and are used in cosmetics.
Why should you go into snail farming?
Snail farming should be ventured into because it is very easy to start and do not require too much professional knowledge and skills in starting up.
The meat from is very delicious, with health and nutritional benefits. It is prescribed for all because it isn’t a red meat, with very high protein vitamins and mineral contents.
Another good reason to venture into snail farming is that its market is vast and unexplored. With big restaurants, hotels, fast foods and malls around, you really do not have to worry about your market, your concern should be about satisfying their quantities.
Snail meat is costly due to the hug gap of unmet snail demand. A raw unprocessed mature snail is about N300 to N800 depending on its size. So you can actually earn millions in the long run.
Processing of snail meat, packaging and reselling will even bring you more money, so don’t sleep on this.
Steps on how to start a snail farming business in Nigeria
Snails are strong animals which can live for months without rainfall in the forest though they’re water loving animals. Below are some basic steps to follow to start snail farming in Nigeria.
Step 1: Specie Choice
Step 2: Get a Snail House or Farmland
Step 3: Purchase your Snails
Step 4: Feeding and Growing your Snails
Step 5: Harvesting and Marketing
Step 1: Specie Choice.
Snails are of different species. But the one that is best for Nigeria is the Giant African Land Snail Achantina fulica which is about 20cm long and highly reproductive. Sounds like what you’d like. So you get them from a reliable source, if you’re going large scale, I would advise you buy from companies or farms that grow snails and keep records.
Step 2: Get a Snail House or Farmland.
When it comes to snail housing, you decide the pattern and way you want. See the best guide to building a snail house. But whichever house you’re choosing, be it a grazing land or different pens, avoid overcrowding as this can hinder their full growth potential and even lead to the rapid spread of diseases and death of your snails.
Snails are very good at escaping. So your snail house should be escape proofed to avoid loss. Nets can be used at pen tops to prevent this.
Step 3: Purchase your Snails.
You obviously need snails to start your snail farm. After you’ve chosen the preferred specie and the snail house is ready, you’ll need snails in them to start making money. Like I said earlier, getting from a reliable source is key. You shouldn’t just buy snails meant for growing from the market.
A firm that keeps record of their farm activities are best to buy from. The health status should be known. Another reason you should buy from the market is because you need a fresh mature snail that just started egg production, you definitely need your farm populated.
Read also: How to start a vegetable farm in Nigeria
Step 4: Feeding and Growing your Snails.
Being vegetarians, they feed on varieties of vegetables and fruits such as cabbage, cucumber, mango, pear, lettuce, papaya, etc.
Snails are hermaphrodites, this means that they have both male and female reproductive organs in them, which makes fertilization easy at maturity. The eggs should be removed and taken to separate pens for hatching. The hatching operation can be performed by humans. See how to hatch snail eggs here.
Step 5: Harvesting and Marketing
A healthy snail can live as long as 5-8 years. Snails should be allowed to reach maturity before harvesting can take place so as to prevent a decrease in market value. They should grow to about 20-30 cm in length. Such size can usually be achieved in about 8-12 months, sometimes it can take even longer than this. The bigger your snails are, the more money you will get for them.
Then again, all snails shouldn’t be harvested at once. It is important to keep some for breeding purposes. Selling to the local market isn’t really advisable as competitors may arise and lead to reduction in output.
So it is advisable you get restaurants, hotels, etc, make them your customers and be their snail plug. this way you’ll make more money.
Cost of Starting
When it comes to setting up a snail farm, the expenses you need to be worried about are those for housing, getting your healthy mature snails, feeding, manpower, marketing and transportation.
And the amount needed depends on how big you want your snail farm like. You will literally need no money if you’re going small scale. Get a space in your backyard, get snails from cool bushes, get feeds from around you and you’re good to go.
But in a medium or large scale, for housing you can rent a land or use your land if you have any.
If you’re buying one snail for N300 and you want to start with 50 snails, 50×300 will give you N15,000 which is fair.
Cost of feeding won’t be much as you can always get fruits and vegetables around you, even if you’re buying, they’re cheap to get.
You wouldn’t need manpower or labor if you can handle the whole process yourself. But when need arise, you’ll have to pay whoever’s in charge of the whole management practices.
Marketing and transportation would be during and after harvesting. So with N50,000 – N100,000 and above, you can start snail farming business in Nigeria.
Read also: Major problems facing agriculture in Nigeria
Snail farming is of little risk and you will make a lot of money if well managed. It doesn’t require much to start up. The best time of the year to start up a snail farm in Nigeria is during the rainy season from June till like October. And you should crave harvest when the supply is low in the market i.e. during December till march which is the dry season.
Start your snail farm today, you won’t regret it. I believe this has helped to an extent on how to start snail farming business in Nigeria. So do well and share to different platforms.
Read also: How to become a millionaire through farming