How to start snail farming business: Snail farming is a niche and unusual business. Successful farmers enjoy the reward of this little known venture. Unlike other businesses, snail farming requires adequate care and less capital to start and run the business.
Opportunities for Snail Farm
Most snails supplied to Nigerian market are gathered from bushes and forests during the rainy season. This is because snails are dormant during the dry season, they become scarce and the market is starved of adequate supply until the following rainy season.
Consequentially, snails are scarce during the dry season (Christmas period) thereby fetching much higher prices due to the fact that supply cannot keep up with demand.
Snails may go on vacation during the dry season but human appetite for its taste never goes on break rather it continues to grow all year round. Several festivals that take place during the dry season makes snail farming a first choice Agribusiness.
As a result of a growing demand of customers for snail, hotels and restaurants are always in need of snails for their delicacies. It therefore makes more sense to maximize to ones’ advantage the short supply.
Tips to Successful Snail Farming
Your primary aim as a starter is to take advantage of the seasonality in the market for snails in order to gain a premium price for your produce.
The following are important to stand out in snail farming;
Integrated farming: in this farming system, snail is raised alongside other farm produce or crops such as plantain or banana in order to make the ecosystem suitable for the snails such that each produce is distinct from another yet, helping each other’s life cycle and development.
1. Farm location
While selecting a location for your snail farming business, most important factor to be considered is the land. It should be plain land, contains 20-40% organic matters and suitable for plant growth. The snail’s shell is made up of calcium which is derived from the soil and from feed. It also lay its egg on the soil and drink water out of the soil.
Hence, the suitable soil for snail farming must contain these elements; calcium and magnesium which stimulate snail growth best. It must be balanced, not waterlogged, not too dry, and must not be acidic. Soils with high organic matter support the growth and development of snails. The most desirable soil for snail is sandy-loamy soil with low water holding capacity.
Snails are friendly to the environment and their droppings are not offensive (unlike pigs and poultry) so there’s no chance that a neighbour will get offended and come knocking.
Economically, it is not wise to harvest your snails before its maturity; they have to be matured before you harvest them. Check the brim of the shell to know if your snails are matured enough for harvest. If the brim is thicker and harder than other parts of the shell then the snail is matured for harvest.
3. Source of Snail
Snails are easily dehydrated and this stresses them out thereby resulting to low fertility. It is therefore advisable to get snails directly from the bush, gardens or forest rather than buying from the market after they have been exposed to sunlight and have dehydrated.
Snail House (Snailery): Snails love dark and cold places, but ensure the humidity does not drop to levels harmful to the snails. However, you can use fresh leaves and cloth that is regularly wet to regulate the temperature.
See what you should know about snail farming to know how to construct a snailery
Snails feed mainly on green leaves and fruits although they can feed on other ranges of foods. Feed your snails with leaves, fruits, or even formula from the feed store. Apart from feeding for growing tissues, snails need calcium to grow shells.
See what you should know about snail farming
4. Pest and Diseases
Not many diseases are identified in snails but bacteria and fungus diseases (which are uncommon) are usually spread in overcrowded pens. Termites, snakes, ants, turkey and geese are most common predators of snail and should be prevented.
NB. It is ideal to irrigate snail farms regularly during dry season to avoid snail hibernation. Snails can hibernate for about two years if there is drought as seen in the case of desert snails. The high demand for snail and its prolific nature bridges the gap and hereby compensate farmers for their long gestation period.
If One hundred thousand snails are sold after a year or two at the rate of N100 each (highly reduced price), you will get about N10 million! Isn’t that a good investment?
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Now that you know ‘how to start snail farming business,’ go be one of those emerging millionaires from snail farming business!
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