One of the most profitable agricultural business is Snail farming. In some countries today Snail farming is regard as one of the most lucrative business anybody can venture into. But some other countries neglect the rearing of snail. According to some agricultural experts, Snail farming provides one of the finest opportunities to make money within a short period of time. The question now is why is it that some countries are not yet fully engaged in this money making animal rearing? From my own perspective the reason is ignorance.
Today in some countries like Australia and USA, snail farming business is real a big business in these countries. Snail farming is really providing opportunities to many farmers. Today in some country like United Kingdom snails can be seen in many supermarkets and stores. This simply means that it is a big business in the country. Now let us look at what snail farming business is all about.
The question we have to ask ourselves now is what is Snail? According to agricultural experts Land snails belongs to the class of Molluscan, Gastropod. Which is popularly known as ‘Congo Meat‘ in many parts of Africa.
Below are some of the type species of snail:
– Achatina fulica –
– Achatina Achatina
– Archachatina Marginata
The above mentions are suitable snail farming.
After deciding on the specie, let’s take you through the step by step how to setup your snail farm in a small scale level and starts rearing your snail towards harvest.
• Snail Farming Environment – Snails are easily dehydrated, and wind increase the rate of moisture loose in snail which in turn, leads to the dryness of the animal. To prevent snails from losing water so quickly, your snaileries (the snail house) must be located in environment that is protected from wind.
A low plain, downhill site surrounded with enough trees is perfect for snail farming. You may plant plantains and bananas around your snail farm to prevent the impact of wind.
• Type of Soil For Snail Farming – Snail’s major habitat is the soil, and soil contains some of the components and chemical substances that it needed to survive. However, not all soils are suitable for snail rearing. The shell of the snail is mainly calcium and it derive most of them from the soil. Snail also lay it’s eggs on the soil and drink water out of the soil.
Hence, the suitable soil for snail farming must contain these elements. Must be balanced, not waterlogged, not too dry, and must not be acidic. The most desirable soil for snail is sandy-loamy soil with low water holding capacity. Clayey soil and acidic soil must be avoided.
• Getting the Snails For Farming – To start up a snail farm, it is advisable to get snails directly from the forest instead of buying from the market after they have been exposed to sunlight and have dehydrated. This is because snails drink a lot of water, so are easily dehydrated and this stresses them out, and reduces their fertility capacity.
The intending snail farmer could pick the snails from the bush with a very simple technique; clear a little portion of land during rainy season and sprinkle spicy fruits like pineapple, pawpaw, plantain, banana etc at about 5o’clock in the evening, when you go back there about 7pm or 8pm, you will pick up snails suitable for rearing. Repeat the procedure until you get enough quantity.
Another way could be to pick up snail eggs littered in the market place where it is sold and through a technique, check the fertility of the eggs, because some of them must have lost fertility due to the exposure to sunlight. The eggs are later put inside a container containing wet sand and covered with cocoyam leaf. Between 21 to 28 days, the eggs would hatch into baby snails. You start feeding them and gradually you raise a snail farm.”
• The Snail House (Snailery) – Snaileries can vary from a patch of fence-protected ground, sheltered from the wind to a covered box if you are breeding in small scale.
For larger population of snails, you can dug a trench or make a concrete pen with soil deep of about 10 inches, and cover it with screen or wire all around to prevent the snails from escaping. Remember that snails can reproduce fast and become pests when their breeding is uncontrolled.
Snails love dark and cold places, but make sure the humidity does not drop to levels harmful to the snails. You can use fresh leaves and cloth that is regularly wet to regulate the temperature.
Also, the wire is useful in keeping away rats and snakes or other predators from eating the snails in your snail farm. But aside from these bigger predators, you should be wary about smaller ones like ants and termites. Your construction must have these predators in mind.
• Snail Foods and Feeding – Snails especially Achatina mainly feeds on green leaves and fruits though they can utilize other ranges of foods. Feed your snails’ leaves, fruits, or even formula from the feed store. Aside from food to grow tissues, snails need calcium to grow shells.
Leaves: Cocoyam leaves, pawpaw leaves, okra leaves, cassava leaves, eggplant leaves, cabbage and lettuce leaves.
Fruits: Mango, eggplant, pawpaw, banana, tomatoes, oil palm fruits, pears. and cucumber.
Once they start growing, separate the big ones from the small ones. It take more than a year for the Achatina type to grow to harvest size. Others mature in two years.
One hundred thousand snails after a year or two sold at the rate of N50 each (highly reduced price) will give you about N5 million! Isn’t that a good investment ?
Harvesting – It is not economically wise to harvest your snails before it’s maturity, it has to be matured before harvesting. To know if your snails are already matured enough, check the brim of the shell. If it is matured enough, the brim should be thicker and harder than other parts of the shell.
Do not harvest all the matured snails at once for the market. It is important to keep few for breeding and to serve as base stock for your snail farm.
Hope this article is helpful to you. Wish you all the best.