Steve Agbota [email protected] 08033302331
Snail farming in Nigeria use to be conducted by a small number of people operating cottage industry business years ago. In most cases the snails were grown in small enclosures, a labour-intensive process that was unsustainable.
This outdated method of producing snails indoors in Nigeria is where snails are contained in smaller enclosures and hand fed. The snails are provided with used tyres as daytime retreats. This method is cumbersome, time wasting and can never be used to raise snails in large numbers, egg hatching is slow and usually only 10 per cent of laid eggs may hatch.
And, contamination and disease outbreak is a common phenomenon. It is for beginners entering the snail farming industry or for people wishing to grow snails for home consumption or for hobby.
The labour component becomes higher and intensive as the operation increases. The food must be renewed each day, and any leftover food and vegetable leaves must be removed to avoid attracting insects, flies and predators. The feeders and drinkers need to be washed regularly and the soil in the containers refreshed periodically.
But through pasture method of rearing, people can turn snail farming into goldmine business especially the new entrepreneurs and this method is not cumbersome like other ways of rearing snails in the country.
Pasture method of snail farming is a system by which snails are allowed to fend for themselves in an open natural field that is planted with special herbs as their food and shelter providers. The four corners of the selected field are usually fenced with flaps and windbreak materials and supported by iron posts to prevent snails from escaping from the farm.
Periodically clearing of weeds on either side of the external security fence is also essential so that any sign of predators… (e.g. mouse, snakes, lizards, soldier ants, frogs, etc.), could easily be seen and trapped.
However, there are certain prerequisites that are essential before pasture snail farming method can be commenced including abundance of water for irrigation/misting, good soil texture, suitable environment conditions, prolific snail specie suitable for rearing, sunshine for good food and shelter plants development.
Pasture method snail farming has many benefits for raising high-quality snails but nevertheless it involves high degree of patience and sound knowledge of snails’ characteristics. As well as the practicalities of farming snails in large numbers, there are other matters to be considered such as processing and marketing.
There are other systems of breeding snails in the backyard such as: the box system, the cage system, the pit system, etc. But, this article lays more emphasis on pasture method because of its viability. With the use of pasture method in Nigeria, an indigenous scientific approach to breeding snails has been discovered.
This method and techniques guarantees fast growth and high productivity. Usage of special formulated food supplements and concentrates, management systems, modern processing and packaging methods will drive snail farming business to a great future in the country.
With careful planning and management, pasture snail farming method is significantly more time productive. Importantly, snails grow in a shorter time with noticeable more consistent growth in pasture method.
Speaking with Daily Sun, an expert in snail business, Prince Arinze Onebunne said that despite the huge profitability of breeding snails in pasture method, many Nigerians are still overlooking the goldmine business because of ignorance of how it works. He said while some don’t just get the fact that it is a money spinner- few who have adopted pasture method are making steady progress.
He added: “Now, imagine for two years you are able to rear 2000 snails to maturity, they will reproduce 100,000 more snails, you will be making N5 million from the sales. If you stock higher like 4,000 snails in two years, they will produce 200,000 more snails. Also, the shell can be subsequently collected and turned into an important component of livestock feeds. “You can sell it out to another farmer and make some money out of your snails’ shell!
Snail farmers should try pasture method for sustainable returns on investment. The benefits of breeding snails in natural conditions in open pastures far outweigh current methods of indoors, used tyres, cage, pit or greenhouse production,” he added.
According to him, pasture method is designed to produce snails in large numbers that will help establish a sustainable, lower labour method of commercially viable, snail production for local and export trade.
Said he: Raise snails for your own consumption or for commercial business. The time is right to utilize a natural food resource that is literally at your feet. Snails are healthy food, high in protein with almost no fat. While they contain a small amount of cholesterol; they are low in kilojoules and also contain amino acids, vitamins and minerals.”