Snail farming is one of the most lucrative agribusinesses in Nigeria, experts in the snail industry have argued that snail farming is worth $12,000,000,000 with 450,000 tons consumed annually. The fact that snail farming is not capital intensive and requires minimum physical efforts with huge return on investments makes it a great agribusiness to consider. Also, unlike other animals, snail farming doesn’t require an expanse of land, or high-end housing or pens and equipment, snails do not fall sick easily and can survive on household waste.

Three species of snail commonly reared by most farmers are Achatina Achatina (Giant tiger snail), Achatina Fulica (East African land snail), and Archachatina Marginata (giant West African snail). However, Nigerian snail farmers prefer the giant African snail (Achatina Achatina). The Giant African snail is one of the biggest in the world and can lay up to 1,200 eggs a year.

Also called heliciculture, snail farming is fast gaining popularity in Nigeria as demands continue to soar due to health benefits of snail meat and other raw materials that can be derived from snail farming such as slime, among others.

Why Snail Farming?

The market opportunity for snail farming business is huge but grossly underrated and largely untapped. This capital-friendly, low-risk agribusiness has an inexhaustible market potential in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. In fact, snail farming business can be taken as a side-hustle or side gig as it can be set-up in the backyard using tires or drums, and feeding remnants.

How to start a snail farm.

Decide species of snail to farm.

African farmers prefer the Achatina achatina species because it thrives well and best in warm climate regions like Africa.

Set-up snail pens

Snails can survive in boxes made of wood and wire gauze, baskets, old car tires, old drums and tanks, etc. depending on the scale of the farm. Also, an intensive housing system can be adopted by big commercial snail farms. In this system, enclosed pens are built to resemble habitats where snails live in the wild.

However, the farmer has complete control and supervises snails’ activities such as feeding, cleaning, hatching, etc. Examples are green houses, buildings with controlled climate, and plastic tunnels. Equally important to note is that snail houses or pens must be spacious because overcrowding the snailery will impede development of snails.

A well-spaced snail housing system also reduces the risk of disease outbreak. Secondly, snail houses should be escape proof, while experts have advised positioning pens 45 degrees away from sunset. Snails generally produce more in a cool environment; therefore, the houses should be built where they are not exposed to intense sunlight or extreme cold.

Soil type

Experts have said sandy-loamy soil is good for snail farming because of its high level of organic matter. Feeding

Snails are vegetarians and thrive on a wide variety of food from cabbage, mango, banana, lettuce, eggplant, pear, cucumber, tomato, cassava, okra leaves, and paw-paw among others. However, household waste supplied to snails as feed must not contain oil and avoid hairy leaves.

Read more at Agro Nigeria: Snail Farming: A Rewarding Agribusiness in Nigeria