Snail farming is the breeding of snails for either home use or commercial purposes which is also
known as Heliciculture (making them feel like their natural habitat).
Snails are mostly known for their crispy delicious taste and nutritional values/content (iron, protein, calcium, etc,). The demand for this meat is always on the rise never growing out of season or taste, making it one of the profitable
farming ventures to engage in.
Just like any other farming enterprise, no matter how lucrative it has its own challenges and
obstacles, snail farming is not exempted or ruled out.
Factors ranging from human and climatic reasons, Snail farming is faced with a number of problems that will be carefully articulated to help beginners in snail farming make an informed decision.
However, despite all the faced hurdles and challenges facing snail farming in Nigeria, it has a wonderful prospect and in the near future unimaginable reasons for people to venture into this business.
Before we attempt to analyze the problems as well as the prospects of snail farming in Nigeria, let us first take a look at how to start a snail farm in Nigeria.
How to Start a Snail Farm in Nigeria
Do you wish to start a snail farm in Nigeria?
I have outlined just 6 things you need to do to start your own snail farm even at home.
One of the things I love about snail farming is that you do not need a large space to start a snail farm.
As a matter of fact, it can be done in your backyard, front yard, side yard, or anywhere you can find a small available space.
1) Get the right species and fresh snails for farming. If you are in Nigeria, I would advise you to go for any of the Giant African land snail species such as; Achatina Achatina or Archachatina marginata. However, I personally do not recommend you rear Achatina Fulica snail species in Nigeria. Reason being that it is not economically viable.
2) Get the suitable soil for farming (must be too waterlogged, dry neither acidic)
3) Make a snail house (suitable enough to keep out rodents, snakes, etc)
4) Get snail feeds (mostly fruits and green leaves)
5) Your market or audience for sales.
6) Right season or period for harvesting
Problems of Snail Farming in Nigeria
Snail farming in Nigeria is faced with many challenges and obstacles, they include the following;
1 Use of Agrochemicals
Many a time, farmers make use of agricultural chemicals ranging from pesticides, weed killers, fungicides, etc aiming at an increase in crop production and control and elimination of pests. This adversely changes the PH value of
the soils making it acidic and uninhabitable for the snails.
Owing to the fact that these snail species love moist and cool atmospheres, the rainy season is more
appealing to them. They prefer 70% to 90% RH (relative humidity) which increases their activeness.
A prolonged period of hot and dry air leads to massive deaths of snails generally.
Moreso, adequate care should be applied in a diverse environment like Nigeria. This however can be
avoided by a frequent sprinkling of water during these hot periods.
3 Human Activities
Ranging from deforestation, bush burning, etc, poses a huge threat to the extinction of these
creatures. Bush burning disposes them of their inhabitation, exposing them and their eggs to the
harsh effects of sunlight and other unsuitable factors.
With deforestation; which is the cutting or felling of trees, these species are left with no choice but to
go into extinction making it impossible for them to be sourced for or found.
4 Scarcity of resources
Just like every other animal or species these species need feeds to survive, grow, and invariably
provide a source of income when sold. However, when there is the scarcity or inability to get the
feeds not just any feed but the right feed for them, all these processes are cut short. This poses a huge
disadvantage and problem for the farmers. Whether on a small scale or large scale, feeds must
equal the size of snails to avoid underfeeding them which might trigger mortality rate.
5 Diseases and Parasites
Ranging from bacteria disease (pseudomonas Arueginosa), fungi disease (Fusarium spp), parasites
(schistosomiasis, fasciolosis, etc) just to mention a few poses a great obstacle in snail farming. Each
of these diseases and parasites is not exposed to the human eyes and can only be detected by
careful observation once they start manifesting or with scientific tools which may not be readily available to the snail farmer.
Bacterias cause intestinal dysfunction in the snails hindering growth.
Fungi cause the untimely death of snail eggs.
I know the next question on your mind is, how do I know when my snails are infested since these diseases are not noticeable with my naked eyes? Most of the noticeable symptoms of the snails include;
- inactivity of snails
- Loss of natural colours
- loss of reproduction
- Thinning shells
- Loss of tentacles
Predators present a deadly hurdle to snail farming. Owing to the fact that these creatures are slow in
movements and very fragile make them an easy target for predators. These predators do not only fall to the category or likes of snakes, ants, etc it forms a much wider cycle which includes the following; Man, rodents
(rats, mouse), insects (ants, termites), crustaceans (millipedes and centipedes), etc.
7 Climatic Factors
The existence, growth, survival, and reproduction of snails hinges around the climatic condition of
snails. A favorable climatic condition possesses the following factors;
- A not dry season
- Relatively high humidity
- Round the clock low temperature
However, in the absence of natural suitable climatic conditions, artificial means could be provided to
avoid the deaths of these species and rooms for diseases and parasites to breed on the snails.
Prospects (Benefits) of Snail Farming
Snail farming holds a great prospect and benefits for both individuals and corporate bodies aiming to
start snail farming.
1 Provides means for self-employment.
Sales of matured snails fetch a great source of income as they can be sold to cold rooms, markets
both local and large markets depending on production, individuals, hotels, and restaurants, and fast
2 Source of exportation business.
Not only can this delicious meat be used by Nigerians alone, but as well be used by other
neighboring countries and also the advanced countries for making tasty delicacies, thereby
increasing the exportation prowess of the country.
3 Source of expansion in Agricultural production.
The use of feeds for the breeding of snails can also be produced locally for easy availability to the
farmers in these sectors. Local products, as well as pieces of equipment, can be used to create a
great and healthy feed formula, interestingly these feeds won’t only be used in the snail rearing
sectors, but other agricultural sectors. E.g poultry, piggery as well as fishery. This, therefore, helps in widening the agricultural horizon of the economy.
The benefits and opportunities presented in the field of snail farming are inexhaustible, both for
individuals, the government as well as the Nigerian economy as a whole. However, adequate preparation and
care should be taken by a beginner in snail farming to avoid loss and increase the mortality rate of