How to Start and Succeed in Snail Farming Business

How to Start and Succeed in Snail Farming Business; Snail farming business is one of the most lucrative livestock businesses any entrepreneur can venture into. Unfortunately, it has been neglected perhaps due to fears the techniques required to start the business are complicated. The truth is, snail farming business is not rocket science; it is very simple to start and very profitable too.

Snail farming can be very profitable in Ghana, Kenya, Cameroon, South Africa, and Nigeria. Yet, it is one of the most neglected animal rearing business in these countries. Snail farming provides one of the finest opportunity to make money within a short period of time. But why are Africans not yet fully engaged in this money making animal rearing? The reason is ignorance.
In Australia and USA, snail farming is big business, providing opportunities to many farmers. In Uk, snails can be seen in many supermarkets and stores. meaning it’s a big deal over there.
Most people in Nigeria and Ghana still have the believe that snail can only be picked in the bush. The culture of going to the bush to pick snails in the villages during raining time has been there for generations. So, it has been difficult for people to come to term that snail can actually be kept and grown at home.
Snail farming, also know as heliculture, is the process of raising land snails for food or other purposes by humans. Generally, their flesh can be used as edible escargot, their slime in cosmetics, and their eggs for human consumption as a type of caviar.
Snails are basically boneless, shell-bearing animals commonly found in African countries. They are considered special delicacies in most cultures. Snail meat is in high demand in Nigeria and most Africa countries. Furthermore, there is a growing demand for snail meat in Europe, particularly France, Spain, and Portugal.


Reasons You Should Start a Snail Farming Business Now

  1. Snail has high nutritional value, which has made it become a very popular delicacy. Snail meat is very rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin E as well as vitamin C.
  2. The new improved species (achantina) can lay about 400 eggs and hatch 60%
  3. Snails are also a good source of protein. Snails are very popular among weight watchers because they are extremely low in calories and fat. Snail meat is also very beneficial to people suffering from cardiovascular diseases, cancer and people trying to recover from an injury.
  4. It has lower risk compared to other livestock farming. Because snail rarely fall sick
  5. With a population of over 160million people, and restaurants scattered all over the country; then starting a snail farming business in Nigeria is really a smart move as the demand cannot even be met by the existing local farmers.
  6. You can conveniently earn income a thousand-fold higher than your present earning. You can keep your present job and do this on part time since it doesn’t require much time.
  7. Snail farming is not capital and management intensive, especially when compared to poultry and catfish farming. The feeds are readily available and you can even produce it yourself as snails feed on waste. You can start small from your backyard and grow from there.
  8. Snail is an export commodity, which has value next to gold in overseas countries. It is a foreign exchange income earner of our days. Our climate is one of the best in snail breeding.
  9. Other uses of snail other than eating.

For traditional medication; long ago, snail slime was traditionally used medicinally from ancient Greece to the middle Ages internally against gastrointestinal ulcers, and in the form of syrup, to soothe a cough. Though now, some people believe in it healing capability and still also use it.

Use in the treatment of burns; In Cameroon, snail slime has also been used by the Bamiléké people of Cameroon to treat burns.

Use for cosmetics; if you do not know, now you know it; snail slime can be used for cosmetics and it has numerous benefits.
Know that most of these cosmetics snail slime are usually extracted from a snail variety known as Cornu Aspersum (previously Helix Aspersa).

  • Snail slime is filled with nutrients such as hyaluronic acid, glycoprotein, proteoglycans, antimicrobial and copper peptides, which are commonly used in beauty products and proven to be beneficial for the skin. Though, these properties help to protect the snail’s skin from damage, infection, dryness and UV rays and likewise beneficially to human skin.
  • For serums, facial masks, moisturizers and fading creams-; Snail secretion filtrate is widely used in Korean for beauty products. And these secretions have a neutral look, smell and texture.
  • Snail mucin can be used to treat dry skin, wrinkles and stretch marks, acne and rosacea, age spots, burns, scars, razor bumps and even flat warts.It can also be used for anti-aging properties that it aids to kindle the development of collagen and elastin. It protects skin from free radicals, soothe skin, repair damaged tissues and restore hydration.

How to Start and Succeed in Snail Farming Business

How to Start and Succeed in Snail Farming Business

Things to consider in starting snail farming business

. The environment and location of your snail farm
. The right soil for snail farming
. Knowledge of snail farming
. Embarking on feasibility study
. Construction of the snail farm
. Write down a business plan
. Sourcing the snails for the farm
.  Feeding of the snails
. Pests and diseases control
. Harvesting the snails
. Getting market for the snails

A. The environment and location of your snail farm

The best environment to situate your snail farm is a low plain, downhill site.  The farm should not be exposed to excessive wind because too much wind would dry out and dehydrate your snails. It is best to have trees like banana or plantain planted around your snail farm.
Snails cannot be reared on concrete floors. The floor of your snailery must be made up of balanced soil, Soil that is not too dry and not waterlogged either. You should also make sure the soil of your snail farm is not acidic or clayey as this may be harmful to the snails.
The best soil for rearing snails is a sandy-loamy soil that has low water retention.  The soil of your snail farm is highly critical to the growth and survival of the snails because snails derive calcium used for forming its shell from the soil. It also gets its water from the soil and lays its eggs on the soil.
Depending on the scale of snail farming you want to go into, your snails can be reared in a large covered box if you are considering small-scale snail farming, or in a concrete pen with soil flooring, if you want to rear snails on a large scale.
The soil should be about 10 inches deep and you should use fresh leaves or wet clothes to control the temperature of your snailery. To protect your snails from predators and pests like snakes, rats and termites, you should make a barbed wire fence around your snail’s pen.


B. The right soil for snail farming

Snail’s major habitat is the soil, and soil contains some of the components and chemical substances that it needed to survive. However, not all soils are suitable for snail rearing. The shell of the snail is mainly calcium and it derives most of them from the soil. Snail also lay it’s eggs in the soil and drink water out of the soil.
Hence, the suitable soil for snail farming must contain these elements.  Must be balanced, not waterlogged, not too dry, and must not be acidic. The most desirable soil for snail is sandy-loamy soil with low water holding capacity. Clayey soil and acidic soil must be avoided.


C. Knowledge of snail farming

Knowledge is an important requisite for success in business, whether it is snail farming of any other business. To become a successful snail farmer, you need to know the best conditions to breed snails, how they reproduce (snails are hermaphrodites), how they feed and factors that militate against their growth. In fact, you must know everything about snails.


D. Embarking on feasibility study 

After obtaining the needed knowledge about snails, you will conduct market feasibility for your snail farm project. Some few questions a feasibility report will help you answer include:

  • What are the factors militating against snail farming in Nigeria?
  • How much capital is needed to set up a snail farm, stock it with snails and run it effectively?
  • Where is the best place to site your farm and how close is it to the market?
  • How much is a bag or basket of snail sold in your area?
  • How long (months or years) will it take you to make your money back?

E. Construction of the snail farm

Snails do better in humus, loamy soil which permits the growth of vegetation. The farm must be a flat surfaced, well ventilated, and adequately wet but not water-logged.
Depending on the finance available to you, the entrepreneur, you can build a snail farm in different sizes. However, you must take steps to make the farm adaptable and comfortable for the snails.
You can construct a small-scale farm using simple materials like old tires, baskets, old drums etc. The goal is to create a spacious environment where snails can be kept and where they can feed and reproduce.
You can also build a small-scale snail farm using an old water tank. Just make sure to perforate the sides of the tank to allow ventilation. Also, cover the floor with humus soil and place dry leaves on it.
If you can afford it, you can also construct larger farms. The most common of these are a cage, high-fenced pen, and low-fenced pen.

How to Start and Succeed in Snail Farming Business

F. Write down a business plan

In setting up a snail farming business in Nigeria, you must set up a perfect business plan for it.
A good business is one that has a business plan which is why I always use to emphasize on this when letting down a guard.
A business that has a business plan is one that has the high potential of succeeding well.
It is so because a business plan entails the amount of capital you intend to start with, your estimated gain, the amount of money you intend to spend in purchasing of equipment or building your facilities, the number of snail you’re starting with, etc, plus your marketing strategies.
When all these are documented, it will give you an insight of the direction your business is heading to; that is if you are gaining or losing in your snail farm business; this also applies to other business.
Another good reason why you should have a good business plan is that whenever you are in need of a loan, a good business plan would back you up to secure a faster loan from investors because the investors could see you as being serious and having a good insight into the snail business.


G. Sourcing the snails for the farm

You would need some snails to start up your snail farm and you must ensure that they are fertile and in perfect condition. The best place to source for your initial stock is in the bushes. Snails gotten directly from their natural habitat are in the best condition because they have not been exposed to too much sunlight which would dehydrate them and make them less fertile.
If you feel getting snails from the bush would be too much of a stress for you, then you can buy snail eggs from the market and cover them up with cocoyam leaves in a plastic bowl with wet sand in it and leave them to hatch.
The hatching process would take about 21-28 days then you can start feeding and taking care of your baby snails and watch your snails multiply in numbers because snails reproduce fast and in large numbers. Before you rush off to the market to get your snail eggs, you should know about the different species of snails and which ones are best for rearing.
The most suitable snail species for rearing are the Achatina Fulica, Achatina Achatina and the Archachatina Marginata but the Achatina Achatina is the most recommended for snail farming because of its high reproductive capacities. It can lay up to 500 eggs at once and lays eggs three times a year. The Achatina Achatina is also easy to find.


H. Feeding of the snails

Snails are nocturnal animals – they have the tendencies to eat mainly at night. They feed on a wide range of decaying or fresh plant and animal.
Cost of feed is almost negligible; snails can feed on peels of cocoyam, sweet potato, rice, maize chaff, etc. The most important element vital for the proper growth and reproduction of snails is calcium, and calcium can be cheaply gotten from green outer leaves of cabbage, pawpaw leaf, pawpaw fruits, etc.
Snails are survivors – they can survive harsh conditions. To ensure proper growth and reproduction, you must ensure the farm is always clean and free from potential threats such as ants, carnivorous birds, and termites.


I. Pests and diseases control

You should look out for possible pest or disease that could harm your snail.  Parasites, nematodes, trematodes, fungi, and microarthropods can attack snails, and such problems can spread rapidly when snail populations are intense. Also look out for and prevent rats, mice, moles, skunks, weasels, birds, frogs, toads, lizards and walking insects.
These are pests that could harm your snail.
Below are some of the diseases odd snails you may want to be familiar with.
We may write details on them later on this blog.

  • Operculum deterioration: holes, loss of operculum
  • Snail inactivity
  • Loss of tentacles or small tentacles
  • Hole in the shell
  • Thin and fragile shell
  • Body disformation
  • Detoriation of shell and operculum
  • Oedema
  • Discoloration in new shell
  • Intoxications
  • Rough shell surface in new shell parts
  • Reproduction problems
  • Irregular growth of the shell
  • Egg problem



J. Harvesting the snails

Your snails can be harvested into containers, bowls, boxes, baskets, or through other means. It’s important that during the harvest process they are handled with care, because of their high fragility. Because of this, it’s important that every container the snails are harvested into shouldn’t exceed 10 kilograms, so they can be easily conveyed.
Also, your snails should be harvested only when they’ve reached full maturity, so you can sell them for a good price and make high returns on your investment. Check the brim of their shells to know if they are well matured. The brim should be harder and generally thicker than every other part of the shells if they’ve matured enough.
Lastly, keep a good portion of the snails for subsequent reproduction. Selling off everything in the market is a no-brainer for any farmer.


K. Getting market for the snails

The demand for snails is now higher than the supply both locally and internationally. On a small scale, you may choose to market your snails locally, supplying to hotels and restaurants. While a large-scale farmer may find that exporting could be a much more profitable option. Ultimately, the goal of the business will be achieved and high profit generated with minimal cost and effort.

Final Thoughts

The opportunities in snail farming far outweigh its challenges/problems. Aside the challenges of raising capital, getting a good place to rear the snails, getting their feeds and marketing your snails; the only headache you may face is the issue of pests such as ants, termites, hawks, etc. Once your environment is properly fumigated, fenced and the top covered with wire mesh; you will have no problems at all. Snails rarely fall sick.
In conclusion, I want you to know that snail farming is a highly lucrative business guaranteed to bring you a huge source of income within a short period! Venture into it. I bet you won’t regret it!



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