A local snail farmer, Mr Sunday Ido, has blamed the current challenges faced in the snail business on logistics following the COVID-19 lockdown.
Ido, the Chief Executive Officer of ‘Real farms’, Calabar, Cross River state, made this known in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Monday.
The farmer said the lockdown was negatively impacting on snail businesses because of the inability to transport the produce to states across the country.
“The lockdown is seriously affecting the snail business and almost every agriculture business in the country currently.
“The immediate challenge we are facing in snail business presently is the problem of logistics. Before now we normally use the transport companies to waybill our snails.
“We use these transport companies because we presently do not have a dedicated transport system for the movement of agric. Produce.
“The restrictions of vehicular movements across states has also stopped the movement of our snails to other parts of the country.
“Presently I have orders from Abuja, Lagos and even this morning from Aba in Abia State but I cannot move them,” he said.
Ido also said the lockdown had made him and other snail farmers to spend more on feeding the snails because of their inability to sell them off.
He added that the only way to avoid losses was to turn most of the matured snails into layers to produce more for the farm while being fattened.
“So logistics has been the major issue. The only thing functioning now is sales within the state and all we do is small deliveries.
“With the current lockdown, I spend more on snail feeds because the ones that matured are meant to be leaving the farms and reducing the numbers I get to feed daily.
“As it is, since I do not have the means to send them out based on order from my customers, I have to spend more than I do in cultivating them.
“I am contemplating making most of the matured snails to layers so that while they are feeding, they are also laying more eggs instead of just fattening them without knowing when to sell them out.
“The challenge is that I am trying to balance it because we do not know how long the lockdown will last. So I do not want to be at a loss when it is time to sell,” Ido said.
He, however, noted that the lockdown had opened the eyes of local farmers to improving the logistics and value chain.
“The lockdown has opened my eyes to ideas in logistics that I think most farmers need to invest in to improve the value chain of their produce.
“I think agripreneurs should invest in agro-logistics businesses; a dedicated logistic company for agriculture produce. Something similar to the Uber taxi model but for agric. products only.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is opening our eyes to other opportunities in the agric. sector by helping us to preserve agric. produce better and improve our value chain,” he added.