Snail farming is another agro business that is making waves currently thanks to its profitability and low seed capital, with just #50,000 you can have your own snail farm which can bring you about #4,000,000 in annual profit.
With just #50,000?
Yes, it has been proven time without number and if you can export your snail it will be more than that.
So how do I start?
Snail farming is not hard to start if you have the knowledge of raising snail, but if not you need to learn from farmer who is already in the business, the training should not take more than 1 month.
Please don’t start without knowing how to care for snail, believe me you don’t want to lose your snail to disease or parasite.
Below are the steps you need to take to have profitable snail farm, but before you go through it read and note down the following.
Snail require humid and dark environment, which ever place you want to use for your snail farm make sure it is far away from sun or heat. During the dry season you can sprinkle water in their environment to make it cool.
Pen is where you keep your snail the science behind is to keep your snail from predator and parasite. Like their environment let the pen be cool and away from sunlight. Spread soil and leaves inside their pen to simulate their natural habitat.
Cost analysis of snail farming
Cost analysis of snail farming depends on the scale of production, but let assume you are starting small.
Cost of wooden cage = #10,000
Cost of 1 snail = #500
Cost of 50 snail = #25,000
Cost of commercial feed = #12,000 per bag.
They will consume 1 bag for 4 months, so you will need two bags which will cost #24,000
You can supplement the feed with fruit, leaves and kitchen waste.
Total cost = #59,000
How profitable is snail farming
Profitability of snail farming depends on the number of your stock. Let assume you house 50 mature snails for 2 years. Your profit will be.
1 snail will produce 300 hatchlings in a year
50 snail * 300 hatchlings = 15,000 snails
Let assume you get 10,000 mature snail in 6 to 7 months
1 mature snail = #500
10,000 mature snails = #5, 000, 000 per year.
Steps to starting snail farming in Nigeria
Select your breed
Like any other animal, snail also comes in deferent breeds according to their size and number of eggs they produce.
Before choosing your breeds, you should know what your target customer want, for instance if you are targeting international market Achachatina marginanta is the deal, if your aim is to have large number of snail Achatina achatina is your best bet.
Below are the breeds of snail in Nigeria and their characteristics
Also known as west Africa giant snail, is the largest of the three spices of snail in west Africa.
They can live up to 8 years and have potential to grow up to 20cm long. They lay eggs four times in a year and their eggs can number between 6 to 14 eggs.
They are the second largest snail in west Africa, their eggs is small compare to Achachatina marginata, this allow them to lay between 80 to 350 eggs per lay, but their laying frequency is small just one to two times in a year.
This is the smallest among the species of snail in Africa, they lay about 100 to 600 eggs five times in a year.
If you know someone who is in to snail farming you can buy snail from such person but if you do not have anybody please do not buy from those on the road side, such snail are you usually stressed out which is bad for snail and can make them lose their fertility.
The best snail for rearing is the one in the forest, try as much as possible to get the forest snail. Below is the techniques you can use to get forest snail.
During raining season clear some small area in a bush where you are sure that you can get snail or you have seen snail before. In this small area slice banana, pawpaw, cucumber around 4pm to 6pm then leave the place and go back in the night you will meet a lot of snail there.
Again do not buy from the road side, don’t waste your investment.
Building snail house/pen
Snail house depend on the scale of production, if it is small scale you can make a box filled with sandy loamy soil, you can also lay leave on the soil to have a humid environment.
For large scale, you will need a concrete floor cover with sandy loamy soil and surrounded by net. Whatever scale you are going for make sure the house is not in the direction of sunlight and prevailing wind.
Feed and feeding
Snail are herbivorous they feed on leave, fruit and they feed mostly in the night when there is little or no disturbance.
They are not expensive to feed since it is easy to get their feed in fact I know someone who only feed his snail kitchen waste, but for commercial purpose it is not advisable.
Whatever food you chose to give them make sure it is soft (fruit) and less fibrous (leave) because snail have soft teeth. Snail also drinks water, do not forget to serve them water.
Recommend: How to start car wash business in Nigeria
Below are the foods you can give your snail.
Lastly concentrate from feed mill
Harvesting your snail
Snail can be harvested between 6 to 7 months of age, though the age have been proven unreliable over the year the best method to determine your snail maturity is to use your finger to slightly press the brim of the snail, if it is hard that means it has mature and ready for consumption.
Do not harvest all your snail keep some for breeding purpose.
There are five ways you can take to sell your snail and they are:
1) You can sell to local market vendors, but I warn you these ones are ripper so be careful when dealing with them. Before going to them determine the least price you will sell your snail.
2) You can take the snail to local market yourself; rent a place to display your snail. The con of this way is that it might take you time before you sell your entire snail but you will make your money.
3) Sell to restaurant and eateries. This will be possible as you grow your snail business because they buy in bulk and if your stock is not much they won’t even look your side.
4) Sell to high net worth individuals. This requires networking and they might ask you to process it, but if done right you will always smile to bank. You don’t need many snails to make it if you can get high net worth people as your customer.
5) You can export your snail. Before considering exportation make sure you have clean snail and ready to process it.
Snail farming is a profitable venture that has been milking money for entrepreneur that go into it, it can milk money for you too if you are ready to follow all the steps above.