Steps for Starting Snail Farming in Nigeria
For starting snail farming in Nigeria, you have to go through some step by step process. I have described some steps here for starting commercial snail farming business in Nigeria.
Suitable Environment for Snail Farming in Nigeria
Generally snails are easily dehydrated. Dryness occurs in snails due to moisture loose in snail. Wind increase the rate of moisture loose in snails. So, select a suitable location for establishing snail farm. For preventing the snails from losing water form their body quickly, you have to place the snail house (snaileries) in wind protected environment. An area with many trees can make perfect environment for snail farming in Nigeria.
Suitable Soil for Snail Farm
Soil is the main habitat of snail. For successful snail farming in Nigeria, the selected land for this business must have to contain some of the components and chemical substances which are necessary for surviving the snails. For this reason, all types of soil are not suitable for commercial snail farming. The shell of the snail is mainly calcium and they derive most of the calcium from the soil. They drink water from the soil and also lay eggs on the soil. For successful farming you must have to select a such suitable place with availability of all types of necessary facilities for the snails. The selected soil must contain all the above elements. But be very careful. Keep proper balance. Never let the soil to become waterlogged, too dry and the soil will not be acidic. Always avoid the clayey and acidic soil. Sandy-loamy soil with low water holding capacity is perfect for snail farming in Nigeria.
Buy Some Fresh Snails
After making suitable environment and selecting suitable land for snail farming in Nigeria, it’s time to buy some fresh quality snails from the market or any farm. But some snail farming expert say that, getting some snails directly from the forest instead of purchasing from market make good result in production. Because, the collected snails from forest can easily adopt themselves with the new environment than the farm snails. If you are not able to collect some snails from forest, you can collect some snail from the bush through a very simple technique. During rainy season clear a little portion of land and sprinkle spicy fruits there like banana, pawpaw, plantain or pineapple. Suppose you have done this process at 5 pm in the evening. Then go back there after 2 or 3 hours. Collect all the snails gathered the place. Repeat the process until you get sufficient amount snails for your farm. There is an another way of getting some fresh snails. Try to get some snail eggs littered in the market where it is sold. While collecting, check the fertility of the eggs. Because some eggs lost fertility because of the exposure to sunlight. Then put the eggs inside a container containing wet sand and covered with cocoyam leaf. Within 21-28 days those eggs would hatch into baby snails. Start feeding the baby snails.
Snailery (Small Snail House)
Snailery is very essential for snail farming in Nigeria. A good snailery keeps the snails safe and productive. In case of breeding in small scale, snaileries can vary from a patch of fence-protected ground, sheltered from the wind to a covered box. Make a concrete pen with soil deep of about 10 inches or dug a trench, and cover it with screen or wire all around to prevent the snails from escaping for larger and commercial production. Generally snails love to stay on cold and dark place. But keep the snails free from harmful humidity level. For regulating the temperature, fresh leaves and cloth that is regularly wet can be used. Prevent entrance of harmful animals like snakes, rats and some other harmful predators. Wire is a great solution for keeping those animals away. You also have to prevent some harmful smaller ones like termites and ants.
Snails generally eat fruits, green leaves etc. Food ensure the proper growth of snails. Provided food help the snails grow their tissues and they also need calcium for growing shells. You can feed your snails some leaves like cassava leaves, cabbage, cocoyam, eggplant leaves, lettuce leaves, okra leaves or pawpaw leaves. Among the fruits you can feed them banana, cucumber, eggplant, mango, oil palm fruits, pears, pawpaw, tomatoes etc.
If everything goes well then your snails will start growing very fast. Separate the big ones from the small ones. Generally, within a year most of the snails reach marketing size. Some snails take more time for growing. However, snail has a good market demand and price. You can easily sell the snails in your local market. Snail meat consuming rate is growing very fast throughout the globe. So, exporting in international market can make more money.
Snail farming in Nigeria is absolutely a lucrative business idea. The initial investment is low, required space or labor is low and you can do this business along with your current profession. The beginners have to visit some snail farm practically and read a lots of book written about snail farming in Nigeria.