A Comprehensive Guide For Beginners

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The profitability of agricultural businesses cannot be overemphasized, however, snail farming in Nigeria is a very profitable venture for entrepreneurs and small businesses that many people have ignored.

With the sustained profitability enjoyed by most agricultural entrepreneurs, many more Nigerians are increasingly interested in farming. However, the problem that most entrepreneurs encounter is that they cannot afford the huge startup costs required to start a large scale farm. Therefore, most entrepreneurs often turn to small scale farming to make profits.

Snail farming in Nigeria is a small scale farming methodology that many entrepreneurs and farmers have used to scale their business massively. With a startup cost of as little as 50,000- 100,000, you stand a chance of making a whopping profit of about 5 million Naira per annum. So, how is that possible? I’d be sharing the A-Z of snail farming in Nigeria with you in this post. But first, let’s talk about why you should invest in snail farming in Nigeria.

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Why You Need To Invest In Snail Farming In Nigeria

Snail farming is a very lucrative business because the demand for snails both locally and internationally is much more than the supply. Oftentimes, Nigerians in many places have to wait for the rainy season when they can pick up wild snails before they consume snails. This means that if you start farming snails, there’s a high probability of you making good profits with your business.

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Additionally, the nutritional value of snails makes sure that it a very high-in-demand commodity all year round. According to Sciencedaily.com, “snail meat contains protein, fat (mainly polyunsaturated fatty acid), iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, vitamins A, B6, B12, K and folate. It also contains the amino acids arginine and lysine at higher levels than in whole egg”. The high nutritional value of snail meat is an important reason why snail farming in Nigeria is very lucrative; a lot of people will pay you handsomely if you can guarantee them a steady supply of snails.

Lastly, there is a market for snails internationally. If you are farming at a scale where you can export snails, there is a huge market for snail exports to Europe and North America where you can earn handsomely for selling snails to merchant overseas. It is also important to note, there is a market to sell snails to merchants in neighbouring African countries.

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What To Know Before Starting A Snail Farm In Nigeria

There are four key areas to consider deeply before you start a snail farm in Nigeria. These points are very important, so make sure that you understand them properly before setting out to start your farming.

Housing

To do snail farming successfully, you need a proper housing structure to put the snails. A snail pen is the structure that most farmers use to house their snails. A snail pen is easier to make than it sounds. It simply means creating a fenced in area where your snails will be safe from harsh weather, pests, rodents and other threats. If you want to make profits from your snail farm, you simply cannot do without a snail pen.

Feeding Technique

Snails like living on humus soil and eating leafy vegetables. Image Credit: Canva

Snails have very weak teeth, so obviously they cannot feed on strong matter. They prefer to feed on soft food like green vegetables, softened meat and the likes. Additionally, they like succulent fruits like Watermelon, Pawpaw, Citrus, and other fruits. Additionally, you can feed snails with professional snail feed but this can be quite expensive on the long run; so the ideal arrangement might be to have a mix of leafy vegetables and snail feed.

If you want to run a profitable snail business in Nigeria, then you need to have a deep understanding of what the best feeding technique will be for them.

Environment

Snails do better during the rainy season and in a moist environment than in a dey environment. So if you want your snails to survive at a high rate, you need to create a favourable environment for them to grow.

Management

Snail farming requires that you understand how to manage snails effectively. As a person looking to invest in snail farming, you need to understand their life cycle, their breeding cycle and how to manage the two. Additionally, you need to understand the various breeds of snails, how profitable they are, a projection of how many eggs they hatch and what that will mean to your business.

In conclusion, you have to understand that the way you manage your snail farm is almost directly proportional to how much the farm will yield for you. Prioritise hygiene and proper management for maximum results.

Now that you understand the important considerations to take when starting a snail farm in Nigeria, let’s examine the steps you need to take to start a profitable snail farm in Nigeria.

Steps To Take When Starting A Snail Farm In Nigeria

Choose The Breeds Of Snails You Want To Farm

Snails like most animals come in different breeds, and each breed has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, the way the different species of snails lay eggs are different. This their hatching cycles:

  • The Achachatina Marginata species lays 6-14 eggs four times a year
  • The Achatina Achatina species lays 80-350 eggs at once, and they lay eggs about one to three times a year
  • Lastly, the Achatina Fulica species lays as much as 100-400 eggs about six times a year

Looking at the data above, you might be tempted to go for the Achatina Fulica species but the truth is that the Achatina Marginata is the biggest land snail on earth, and as such is preferred by many people locally in Nigeria and around the world. Additionally, studies have shown that the Achatina Achatina species is more suited to the African weather and condition than other species.

In conclusion, the snail specie you choose to breed should be based on the demands of the market, the conditioning and environment you can provide, as well as the goal you are setting.

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Build A Snail Pen

Remember when we said that a snail pen is important to your snail farm? Now that you are starting a snail farm, you have to build one for your snails. Building a snail pen is super easy and can be done with corrugated sheets, old tyres, wooden frames, baskets and a host of other materials. But for the purpose of this article, I am going to show a very easy method of building a snail pen using baskets. Follow these steps to build your first snail pen using a basket.

  • Buy a spacious basket
  • Lay as sack at the bottom of the sack (please make sure that the sack can hold soil)
  • Fill the laid basket with either loamy or humus soil (please make sure that the depth of the soil in the basket measures between 15-20cm)
  • Create a mulch on the soil by putting dry leaves on the soil
  • Following that, create a cover for the basket with mosquito nets to help protect again insects and still provide ventilation for your snails. Voila! You now have a snail pen.

Buy Your Snails

Now that you have taken time to select the most favourable breed of snail and also built a snail pen, the next step is to actually purchase the snails. To purchase snails, you can approach a local snail farmer in your community. Make sure that you go there armed with the knowledge of the species of snails you want to buy, how they look and probably how much they weigh.

When buying snails for breeding, make sure they that they are fully grown and are ready for hatching at the time you are buying. This is because you want your snails to start hatching eggs shortly after you get them rather than nurture them to maturity first.

This goes without saying, but you also want to make sure that the snails you are buying are healthy. Unhealthy snails will not give you the best farming experience.

Rearing The Snails

We already established that snails have a very soft teeth, so they prefer feeding on soft matter. You want to feed your snails with leafy vegetables, fruits, house food waste and other things that they eat naturally.

Also note that snails are not used to changing their diets radically, so anything that you want to feed them with, decide very early and stay consistent while feeding. Personally, I will advise that you feed them with vegetables and fruits and introduce snail feeds from time to time, but you might want to find out what works for you and your pocket.

You also need to maintain a healthy supply of clean drinking water for your snails, but you can also introduce a bit of tasty drinks like tea from time to time as snails like tasty food.

Another important aspect of rearing your snails is providing a comfortable environment for them to hatch. Snails are hermaphrodites by nature, so this means that they can all cross-fertilize each other and lay eggs. So you have to build your snail pen in such a way that they can lay their eggs easily and safely- which is why we advised that you put humus soil in your pen.

Harvesting Your Snails

Snails being harvested
Snails harvested after maturity. Image Credit: Canva

Now that you snails have laid eggs and hatched, you must also rear the new, younger snails to maturity. At this stage, you are rearing the snails for economic value; so you must make that they reach maturity before you start harvesting.

While harvesting your snails after they mature, it is important that you keep some as some sort of “operating capital”, so that they can lay more eggs, hatch and provide you more value.

Selling The Snails

There are different ways that you can sell your matured snails in Nigeria. The easiest and most accessible way is by selling them at the local market. Nigeria operates a form of traditional local markets that provides free access to anyone with a commodity to sell. So, you can go to your local market, set up shop and begin to sell your snails right away!

In another vein, you can sell your snails to eateries, restaurants and fast food outfits. This might give you more value long term and also help you sell your snails all at once, but it requires a lot of networking. You need to get in touch with the decision makers of the food outlets before you can start selling.

The third way you can sell your snails in Nigeria is by connecting with high networth individuals who are oftentimes looking for snails to buy. If you can have someone introduce you to them, you could have a few customers that will be buying up all your supplies of snails!

Finally, you can connect with a local network of people who export agricultural produces to other countries and export your snails. The truth is that there is a huge market for snails and you can barely go wrong with snail farming in Nigeria.

Cost Of Starting A Snail Farm In Nigeria

The cost of starting a snail farm in Nigeria varies from place to place, but it is heavily dependent on the type of materials you are using and whether you are leasing land for your farm or not. For the purpose of this article, let us assume that you are using your backyard space, and you are building a basket pen like we explain in this article. Here the cost of things you will need:

Snails For Rearing: 450 Naira for lay-ready snails. Let’s assume you are buying 50 for your small snail farm. That with total up to 22,500

Cost Of Feed: 10,000 per bag. Let’s assume you are buying 2 bags for the first three months. That will come up to 20,000
Fruits: You can get damaged fruits from fruit vendors for free or at a very reduced price

Cost of baskets: 500 per one. Let’s assume you are buying 10. That totals up to 5000 Naira.

Total cost is 22,500+ 20,000+5,000 = 50,000 Nair.

So, with 50,000 Naira, you can start a small snail farm in Nigeria and make amazing profit from it.

Frequently Asked Questions About Snail Farming In Nigeria

How Lucrative Is Snail Farming In Nigeria?

Snail farming in Nigeria is very lucrative. You can start your business with as little as 50,000 Naira and make as much as 5 million Naira in one year. To be successful, follow the steps outlined in this comprehensive guide.

How Do I Get Snail Buyers In Nigeria?

There are various ways you can get snail buyers in Nigeria. You can go to the local market, connect with agro-allied companies, network with high networth individiduals and sell to food outlets.

How Do I Start A Snail Business In Nigeria

You can start a snail business in Nigeria by establishing a snail farm. Follow the guidelines in this article to start your journey. Alternatively, you can buy snails from trusted buyers and resell to agro-allied companies.

Conclusion

Snail farming in Nigeria is a viable means of earning that can be started with small capital. If you follow the steps outlined in this guide, you will be properly positioned to make a huge profit from your small-scale snail farming. Do you have any question about snail farming? Ask me in the comments section and I’d respond. I’d be reading!

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