Comprehensive Guide on How to Plan a Snail Farming Venture
A sequence of five steps is suggested:
1) Plan (market, production, organization)
2) Pilot production and sales
3) Go or no-go decision
4) Investment in facilities and know-how (cages/pens, finance, knowledge)
5) Upscaling (logistics, quality, financial control)
The following chapters present prescriptions for the actual farming of snails, e.g. suitable snail species, environment, housing, stock, feed and health.
Caution: Before embarking on snail farming make sure you have a market! This may seem self-evident; but there are many examples of cases in which giant African land snails (GALS) were introduced to other parts of the world for farming, but were eventually dumped (or allowed to escape) into the wild for lack of a market.
Once the snails have been introduced, dumped or allowed to escape, they develop into a serious agricultural pest. Without any natural enemies they end up destroying a wide range of agricultural and/or horticultural crops and causing considerable economic damage. Achatina fulica has a particularly poor reputation in this respect.
Giant African snails are considered a delicacy by people accustomed to consuming them, whereas other people, even within the same country, will not even touch, let alone eat them. For that reason, don’t start farming snails unless you are absolutely sure someone will buy or eat them.
Why You Should Start a Snail Farming Business Today
a. Due to its high nutritional value, snails have become a very popular delicacy. Snail meat is very rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin E as well as vitamin C.
b. Snails are also a good source of protein. Snails are very popular among weight watchers because they are extremely low in calories and fat. Snail meat is also very beneficial to people suffering from cardiovascular diseases, cancer and people trying to recover from an injury.
c. With a population of over 160million people, and restaurants scattered all over the country; then starting a snail farming business in Nigeria is really a smart move as the demand cannot even be met by the existing local farmers.
d. Snail farming is not capital and management intensive, especially when compared to poultry and catfish farming. The feeds are readily available and you can even produce it yourself as snails feed on waste. You can start small from your backyard and grow from there.
5 Steps To Starting A Snail Farm
Below are the five basic steps you need to follow to start a profitable snail farming business.
Step 1 – Decide which species of snail to farm
When creating a snail farm, you’ll have to use a single species of snail. Research has shown that snail species such as Achatina achatina are the best for warm climate regions like Africa.
Step 2 – Set-up your farmland for housing
Your snail housing must have enough space for your snails to graze freely. Overcrowding your snailery impedes the development of snails and therefore should be avoided. A well-spaced snail housing reduces the risk of disease outbreak caused by overcrowding.
Snails are good at escaping from where they are kept, so you should endeavour to construct escape proof housing. You can use a pen house that will be spacious and accessible with a soil depth of 10 inches and trees around it.
Step 3 – Purchase your snails
If you want to start a snail farm, you’ll need to get snails. After setting-up proper housing and farmland for the snails, it’s time to buy some fresh quality snails from the market or any farm. It’s always best to be able to examine the snails before you buy them so that you know they are healthy.
When you first start your snail farm, you’ll want to get healthy, fully grown snails that will lay eggs and help populate your farm. Look at the shell of the snail. If there is a lip, that means they are a fully grown snail.
Step 4 – Feeding and rearing of the snails
Snails are vegetarians and can be fed with wide varieties of foods such as cabbage, cucumber, mango, banana, eggplant, pear, tomato and paw-paw, cassava, okra leaves or lettuce. However, you can as well feed snails with pineapple, banana or paw paw.
Mating and laying eggs are a vital part of snail farming. Typically, mating occurs during spring and summer. As hermaphrodites, snails can fertilize each other as soon as they are mature enough. In order for the egg laying to go over smoothly, you should use high-quality soil with the right temperature and humidity.
Step 5 – Harvesting and selling of the snails
It is not economically wise to harvest your snails before it’s maturity, it has to be mature before harvesting. Do not harvest all the matured snails at once to sell in the market. It is important to keep few for breeding and to serve as base stock for your snail farm.
Snail has good market demand and price. You can easily sell the snails in the local market. Snail meat consuming rate is growing very fast around the globe. So, exporting in the international market can make you more money.
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