Snail farming (Heliculture) otherwise known as snail rearing can be defined as 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, commonly known as snail slime, has medical properties and is used in cosmetics.
Below are the some of the benefits of snail farming business (Heliculture) in Nigeria and all over the world:
- Snail farming for beginners is very easy to run
- It is a highly lucrative business
- It is environmental friendly
- Snails are highly productive
- Low in fat and cholesterol
- Highly medicinal and used for health’s related products
- Snail has traditional healing benefits
- Snails are good export business opportunity
- Snails contain iron
- Snails contain magnesium
- Snails contain vitamin A
- Snails contain calcium
- Snails have very low fat.
- Snail rearing is a high profit-yielding farming venture when properly and professionally managed.
- Snail farming provides a cheap source of high quality animal protein for human consumption. Snail is a white meat therefore very healthy for consumption.
- Starting a snail farm requires relatively low startup capital compared to other forms of animal farming.
- Snail offal may be used as a source of protein and its shell as calcium source in animal formulated feeds.
- The snail fluid (slime) is highly sought by cosmetic pharmaceutic companies due to its therapeutic contents.
- Managing a snail farm is easier, less stressful and demanding as against other forms of animal farming.
- Snails are a slow moving, gentle and easy to control animal and therefore can serve as a job for all.
- Due to the hermaphroditic nature of the African land snail, they can easily multiply increasing your snail farming enterprise.
- Snail breeding does not necessarily need strong vaccination or drug administration as snails are generally a strong creature.
- In the intensive snail farming method, a small land space can be used to rear thousands of snails. As a matter of fact, it is the only animal that can be reared anywhere; in used car tyres, cage, pen and even in uncompleted buildings.
- Snails can be kept as pet for recreational and aesthetic purposes.
- Snail shell can also be used for decoration when refined, abrasive for washing household utensils and for manufacturing things such as plates, jewelry, etc.
- Snail droppings (faeces) is a very source of organic manure for green farming (crop production).
- Snails are environmentally friendly and does not constitute any form of disturbance at all, the droppings are odourless, easily cleared and cleaned. Moreover, snail is noiseless, easy to handle and not aggressive.
- A mixture of snail’s blood and palm kernel oil in equal parts when rubbed on the body reduces the severity of stoke and severe headache (Fature, 1990). The snail blood is the bluish fluid found when the shell is broken.
- There’s a local believe that soup prepared with snail meat is good for pregnant women as it aids the movement of the baby in the womb, easy delivery and good source of iron for nursing mother.
- The shell could be used for ornamental purposes.
- The shell could be used to replace bone meal in compounding ration for other animal feeding
- Snails farming could be combined with other businesses and reared at the backyard. An existing fish farmer or poultry farmer can easily add snail farming without the existing business being affected.
- The feed are cheap and are locally sourced. They feed primarily on plants and vegetables.
- Snail meat has both local and international market value. It can be sold here in Nigeria and exported to other countries.
- Snails fit well into other farming activities helping to fertilize the soil prior to cultivation of other crops.
Limitations of Snail Farming
There are benefits of snail farming, but there are also limitations or disadvantages.
Like I said in the introduction of this article, the disadvantages of snail farming are negligible.
However, it is important for you to know these disadvantages of snail farming also.
So, here is the first limitation in snail farming
(1) Snails Have Slow Growth Rate
it is almost unbelievable that a creature as small as snails will take up to 8 – 12 months to reach market size.
That’s a very long time away.
Furthermore, the part of snail meat that is consumable is only about 41% of its live weight.
Are you kidding me?
Nah! I’m not kidding. The edible part of a snail carcass is that small.
In effect, snail farming is not a get-rich-quick scheme.
You need the patience to succeed. A whole lot of it.
But it will definitely be worth the wait if things go well for you.
(2) Some Cultures Limit Snail Farming
While many people love to eat snail as a delicacy, there are those who will not even touch it for religious or cultural reasons.
There are some Ghanaian dietary taboos that prevent pregnant women from eating snail to avoid giving birth to drooling babies and children.”
Do you want to know what I think of this?
This statement is just a mere superstition passed down through many generations
With the right education and sensitization, this ignorance can be amended.
Read Also: Basic Snail Farming Tools and Equipment’s
(3) Snails are Pests in the Wild
In fact, this is the major reason many countries put a ban on snail farming.
When snails escape from their snail pen into farmland, they destroy economic plants.
What makes it very dreadful is the fact that snails are hermaphrodites.
They will just multiply exponentially in the farm and cause massive damage to crops.
As a result, snails are seen as pests.
There are countries that will not even allow you to bring a living snail across their border.
You either go back with it or they will destroy it for you.
(4) Climate Affects Snail Production
Snails cannot be reared in all types of climate.
When there is too much cold, snails will just freeze to death.
If the wind is too much, it will cause them to aestivate.
Also, too much sunshine will reduce its activity.
Because no one can control the natural climate of any area, snail farming cannot be practised in every country.
The best climate for snail farming is the humid tropical forest zone.
Snails prefer an area having high relative humidity, constant temperature, and preferably no dry season.
With a fairly constant change in day and night throughout the year, your snails will do well in such area.
(A) Benefits of Snail Farming
The summary of the benefits of snail farming include;
- Snails are Highly Reproductive
- They have the benefit of being environmentally friendly
- Snail Meat is rich in protein and is delicious
- Snail Farming Business has High Market Potential
- Cost of Starting a Snail Farming Business in Very Low
- The Risks of Losing Snails are Minimal
- Snail Farming Provides Employment for Many People
- The by-products of snails have many uses
- Snail Farming is a Source of Foreign Exchange
- Snail Farming is Less Time Consuming
(2) Limitations of Snail Farming
Some of the limitations of snail farming are;
- Snails Have Slow Growth Rate
- Some Cultures Limit Snail Farming
- Snails are Pests in the Wild
- Climate affects snail production
Now let us discuss about the nutritional importance of snail meat as well as the reasons you should start eating snail meats from today below:
8 Reasons You Should Start Eating Snail Meat
Eating snail meat whether it be in freshly cooked or grilled form has been enjoyed from the earliest to modern times, not only for its unique taste but also the immense nutritional values and health benefits it possesses.
Below are the benefits of snail meat consumption:
(1) Snail Meat Contains the Ideal Form of Protein
If your body goals include growing and maintaining a perfect body structure, with an improved immune system, then you need the ideal form of protein, which makes up to 12-15% of the snail meat.
Unlike other sources of animal protein, that comes along with a high content of fat and calories, which when consumed consistently over time, increases the level of cholesterol in the body, leading to some health complications like stroke and heart diseases, the snail meat contains close to zero fat making it one of the healthiest sources of protein.
(2) Low Level of Cholesterol
The snail meat is recommended for people passionate about watching their weight while eating healthy, and also for people managing health complications like high blood pressure and diabetes because it has relatively a low level of cholesterol.
(3) A Rich Source of Vitamins
Not only is the snail meat rich in protein, but it is also one of the richest sources of vitamins A, E, K, and B12. The world is going almost completely digital, and there are increasing reasons to be more exposed to screen activities on laptops and phones, it’s only healthy you take care of your eyes, by feeding on a diet such as a lump of snail meat, rich in vitamin A, responsible for improving vision.
The other vitamins present in the snail meat function to improve your body’s immune system against infection and diseases, give you smooth and healthy skin, and help in the circulation of more oxygen to your body tissues and organs.
(4) Contains Tryptophan and Selenium
You may not be familiar with Tryptophan but trust me it plays a vital role in your body’s regulation of sleep, impulse, appetite, and even an improved mood, or Selenium that has anti-cancer properties, boosting the body’s immune system to fight against cancerous cells.
But these are more reasons you should eat snail meat because as much as your body needs them to function, it cannot produce them (Selenium and Tryptophan), you only get them from foods such as the snail meat.
(5) Improves Blood Count
You definitely should include the snail meat in your next meal as it has a high Iron content, a major component of the red blood cell your body needs. The deficiency of iron causes anaemia and extreme fatigue, so if you get stressed out quite easily then perhaps, you should be eating more snail meat.
(6) Supplements of Calcium and Magnesium
You should also add the snail meat to your diet because it is rich in Calcium that functions in the body to build you stronger and healthier bones.
Also, the snail meat contains a substantial amount of Magnesium recommended by both the Department of Health and Human Services of the United States, for different age categories that the body needs to maintain normal blood pressure and keep regular heartbeat.
(7) Effective against certain forms of Cancer and Cough
Recent studies have shown that anti-bacterial substances white rock sea snails secrete onto their eggs to protect them from the bacteria-rich marine environment contain a compound called 6-Br, which has been known to reduce certain forms of prostate tumours without any form of toxicity to the human body.
It is well known amongst certain tribes in West Africa of the medicinal value of edible snails in the treatment of whooping cough.
(8) A Healthy Source of Omega-3
Omega-3 is another nutrient your body benefits when you eat snail meats, and it helps to not only protect you from a heart attack but it is also very good for the brain.
The snail meat contains essential and vital nutrients for healthy skin and body, hence, you must get your snail meat, be it the freshly processed or the grilled snail meat from a snail farm you trust, as what the live snails are fed with before they are fully grown and processed, plays a vital role in determining the taste and the nutritional value of the snail meat.
We understand that you might have some questions, one of which might be “Now that I have been exposed to why I should eat snail meats, how then do I get fresh snail meat near me? “ It’s quite easy actually, simply reach us today and have freshly processed snail meats delivered to you, anywhere you might be within and outside Nigeria.
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