The snail farming in Nigeria is less known but one of the most lucrative business ideas in 2019. It is less popular because more than 50 percent of the population are yet to explore this profitable business.
And that is the secret.
For entrepreneurs who want a profitable business to invest in, I recommend snail farming for you.
Snail business in Nigeria can be done on a small or commercial scale depending on your budget and the scope of your business plan. It requires very little capital to start up and is a low-risk investment.
With the demand for snails in Nigeria and other foreign countries increasing yearly, starting this business can, undoubtedly, be a very lucrative way to generate more income.
Such a business can be used to eradicate the unemployment and poverty we are experiencing in Nigeria today.
Snails mainly feed on plants, and they rarely get infected with any disease, this saves you from spending money buying animal feeds.
Besides their economic potentials, the health benefits of snails are enormous because of their high protein, iron, and low-fat composition.
Snail farming is also very lucrative because snails reproduce rapidly and can produce hundreds of eggs in the right environment (150-400 at a time and 3-5 times in a year).
Because of this, some commercial snail farmers make up to N3 million annually.
The market for snails is always there, and because demand consistently exceeds supply, a huge employment opportunity is created for entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
The target market for snail business in Nigeria are hotels, fast food, superstores, restaurants, and barbeque joints.
Note: If you don’t want to read all the post, you can use the table of contents below to get the information you want:
Steps To Start Snail Farming In Nigeria
Before you start this business, there are certain things you need to know about the business.
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1. Find a suitable soil for your snail farm
For you to have a successful snail business in Nigeria, the nature of the soil must be considered.
The land must contain minerals and nutrients required for the growth and development of the snails.
Here is a fact.
Snails thrive in soil with high calcium and moderate water content. You need the right soil for the success of your snail farm in Nigeria.
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2. Have a budget plan
Setting up a snail farm in Nigeria requires a low capital of about 50,000 to 80,000 naira depending on the size of your farm.
However, the larger the snail farm, the more income you generate as snails have a high rate of reproduction.
3. Select the most reproductive snail species
This is one of the secrets of the biggest snail farms in Nigeria.
When starting a snail farm, it is best to rear species with a high rate of reproduction. The species of snails recommended for snail farming in Nigeria is the Achatina species.
This brings us to one of the questions most start-up snail farmers keep asking.
How many eggs can a snail lay at a time?
It largely depends on the type of snail, but on the average, a snail can lay between 50 and 180 eggs in a nest. The African giant snails are known for laying more eggs ranging between 80 and 400 under favorable conditions.
The Roman and Garden snails are the least egg producers. The Roman snail lay between 8 to 80 eggs whereas the Garden snails can lay from 70 to 90 eggs.
4. Build a snail pen (snailery)
The snail pen must have enough space for the snails to move freely in other to avoid overcrowding and enhance ventilation.
5. Identify the right seasons for snail rearing
When starting your snail farm, it is crucial to take into consideration the various seasons for mating and laying of eggs.
Snails mate during the spring and summer periods while they require soil with the right humidity to lay their eggs.
6. Acquire your snails
When starting a snail farm, you can get your fresh snails from the market or randomly pick them from their natural habitat (forest).
It is essential to start with healthy and fully grown snails when setting up your snail business. A pro tip here is to look at the shell as compared to the snail inside the shell.
If the snail fit the shell, is an indication that the snail is healthy.
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7. Feeding the snails
Snails are primarily herbivores and eat a wide variety of food that they find in their habitat. It also depends on the species as well as the natural habitat of the snails.
However, snails sometimes feed on the sand for calcium.
They eat bitter leaves, scent leaves, pawpaw leaves, lettuce, vegetables, cabbage as they are mainly high sources of calcium and iron.
There is another method some of the best snail farmers in Nigeria use. Before they feed their snails, they provide a wide variety of food which is basically plants in the snail pen.
These farmers then stay close, usually, at night and watch the snails eat. The leaves that are consumed the most are the ones that the snails will be fed.
This feeding method is employed by farmers who rear different varieties of snails.
For those seasoned snail farmers in Abuja and other places in Nigeria, they already know what kind of food to provide for their snails.
But how do you know when the snail is eating?
It is pretty obvious.
Snails usually move their heads when scrapping the food so you will know by that action. Moreover, you will know if they ate a particular food by the holes that are created in the leaves.
8. Harvesting and selling the snails
Only matured snails should be harvested and sold. Harvesting snails that are not fully grown should be avoided.
However, it is not advisable to sell all your fully grown snails because you will need the matured ones for breeding.
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Tips For Successful Snail Farming In Nigeria
Starting a snail farm business in Nigeria could be quite straightforward. Things could, however, get complicated if not properly managed.
Below are some tips required to run a successful snail farm business in Nigeria;
- The farm soil must maintain a proper balance. The soil must not be waterlogged, and you must avoid soil with high acidity. The farm soil must be favorable to support the growth and reproduction of the snails.
- Market your snails properly by targeting premium customers such as hotels and restaurants who are willing to pay a high amount for your snails.
- Always make sure your snails are fully matured before selling them. Snails that are large in size always have more demand and are likely to have a high payout.
- Rear the right species of snails. If you want to attract premium customers to your snail business, it is recommended to start your business with the Giant African species of snails.
Things You Should Consider Before Starting Your Snail Farm
Before starting a snail farm in Nigeria, there are certain things one must consider or take note of before entering into such a lucrative venture;
- Snail farming is a low-risk business that requires low capital, and the cost of operation is also minimal. You can set up a snail farm with a budget as low as N40,000 and grow your business over time.
- Snails are slow and gentle animals, with droppings that are not offensive to people living in that environment. It is not like poultry farming where you will have issues with your neighbors due to foul smell.
- You must have sound knowledge about the dynamics of the snail business. Frankly speaking, no active training is required to start snail farming in Nigeria. However, it is important that you get the basic knowledge about the snail business in other to be successful.
- Construction of a snail pen is an instrumental factor to consider when starting up a snail farm. You must know the type of snail pen that fits your budget. It can be an intensive, free-range, semi-intensive, or extensive housing system.
- The location of the farm. The snail farm must be built in an area with a suitable soil profile necessary for the growth and development of the snails.
Suitable Environment For Snail Farming In Nigeria
A snail friendly environment is also one of those things to consider when starting a snail business in Nigeria.
Snails grow and develop at a rapid rate in soils with high organic matter such as the sandy-loamy soil. This is mainly because of its rich nutrients and low water holding capacity.
Also, the snail farm should be sited in a low-wind environment to prevent dehydration of the snails.
How To Get The Snail For Your Farm
Snails needed to start your farm must be healthy and in good condition, unless you want them to die off.
Sourcing for snails can be done in two ways;
- By getting them directly from the forest using fruits like pawpaw or banana as bait to lure them or
- Purchasing them from a reliable dealer who knows their health condition.
Market Opportunities For Snail Farmers In Nigeria
You may be wondering how lucrative is snail farming in Nigeria.
This kind of business is profitable in Nigeria, especially when done under favorable conditions.
There is always a huge market for snails in Nigeria as demands exceed supply. Snail farmers can always sell their snails to premium customers like hotels, restaurants, bars, small joints, and eateries.
Large-scale snail farmers can export their snails to countries in Europe and America where there is high demand.
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How To Build A Snail Pen
Constructing a snail pen is essential for your business especially for commercial snail farmers.
You need to, however, consider the type of housing unit you want for your business.
The basic types of snail pens are the Intensive, Semi-intensive, and Extensive snail housing systems.
The Extensive Snail Farming System
The free-range or extensive system of rearing snails in Nigeria is the best means to get the most out of your farm.
This is because it allows the snails to move freely in their natural habitat. It reduces most of the challenges encountered by the intensive system.
For example, snails under the intensive system are limited by space and other resources.
Because of that, the accumulation of slime and feces can lead to the spreading of infection, which affects productivity.
The only downside of the free-range farm is the cost of construction. If you can afford the extra cost then while not?
Most of the biggest snail farms in Nigeria use the free-range farming system.
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The Intensive Snail farming System
This is most suitable for commercial snail farming.
A good snail pen must have enough space and be able to protect the snails from predators. The various ways to build a snail pen under the intensive system are;
Snail pens made with basket are basically used for the incubation of eggs or raising of the hatchlings. The basket should be filled with loamy soil. You also need to put dry leaves on it and cover it with a lid.
Wooden snail cage
It is also known as a hutch box. With the wooden cage, you can easily identify eggs and young snails and care for them.
It is particularly useful when constructing semi-intensive snail pens.
Here are some few things you need to know:
- Because snail slime and droppings can promote the spread of infection, the soil should be changed occasionally.
- The box should be built with hardwood and perforated to allow water to pass out as well as enhance ventilation.
- The hutch box should be erected above the ground to prevent predators from feasting on your snails.
Using old tires to construct the snail pen
If you are planning of starting snail farming in Nigeria on a low budget, then I encourage you to use old tires to house them.
Old tires are used mainly for the construction of backyard snail pens as they are less expensive and are readily available.
These tires should also be perforated to allow water drainage. You should note, however, that this housing unit can hold a very limited number of snails depending on the size of the tire.
Packing more snails in a small space lead to competition for food, space, and also spread of infection. Bear in mind that direct sunlight can have an effect on the development of snails.
It is therefore advisable to put your tire snail pen under a shade.
Please note; this housing unit is not recommended for large and commercial snail farming.
Using drums and old tanks
Drums and old tanks are mainly used to construct snail pens for a small scale snail business, primarily for family consumption. These drums should be filled with hummus and perforated to allow water drainage.
How To Maintain Your Snail Farm
To keep your snail farm in good shape, you have to ensure the following:
- Make sure there is food available for the snails to feed on.
- Always remove snail food once it starts to grow molds and mucus.
- The soil in the snail pen should be changed every 3 months to avoid the build-up of mucus and snail feces.
- Always water your snail farm but do not flood it.
How Profitable Is Snail Farming In Nigeria
As I said earlier, the snail business is one of the most lucrative enterprises in Nigeria, which most people are yet to explore.
The cost of snail farming depends on many factors.
It requires low start-up capital, but its returns on profit are massive when compared to the initial amount invested.
The average cost of snail in Nigeria is about N250-N400 depending on the size. Snails can also be exported to Europe and the United States for money.
Research shows that commercial-scale snail farmers generate an income of about N2-N3million annually.
Now that you know how lucrative snail farming is in Nigeria, what are you waiting for?
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What Are The Benefits Of Snail Farming In Nigeria
Here are the main advantages of rearing snails in Nigeria:
- Snail meat is delicious, and this creates demand for the business.
- They are highly productive. The snail is a hermaphrodite, and because of that, they reproduce very fast.
- It doesn’t take long for snails to grow to full size. It takes a few months to mature.
- As pointed out earlier, snail farming produces no offensive odor so you will have no issues with your neighbors. Moreover, the activity is both noise-free and with no stress.
- Snail farming creates job opportunities for many entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
- Apart from the enormous economic value, snails are also used for medicinal purposes. For example, mucus from the garden snails is used to treat scars and wrinkles.
- The business is not as risky as compared to other livestock farming.
- So many products are generated from the snail. Ranging from the shell to the meat, every part of the snail is useful.
- Snail rearing can be a hobby or a part-time job.
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Types Of Snails For Your Business
There are various types of snails, but for the purpose of livestock farming, we will limit ourselves to the three main land snails.
- Giant African snail (Achatina fulica)
- Roman snail (Helix pomatia)
- Garden snail (Helix spersa)
Of the three types of snails listed above, it is the Giant African snail that is predominant in Nigeria and one of the largest.
The Achantina snail is mostly active at night and remains dormant during day time.
The periwinkle snail is another type that people consume in some parts of Nigeria.
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How long do snails live?
The lifespan of most snails ranges from 2 to 10 years. Land snails have an average lifespan of five (5) years.
Are snails dangerous?
In general terms, some species of snails can be poisonous, and they are mainly marine species. But since we are talking about land snails, I can say that land snails are not dangerous.
If you are the escargot fan and you are wondering if it is safe to eat snail, then you have the green light. Escargot and the other land snails mentioned are edible.
For those who have already started snail farming in Nigeria, share your experience in the comment section. If you haven’t started yet and you want more information too, we are here to help each other. Feel free to ask anything.