The snail farming business is an unsaturated niche due to its seasonal nature. This makes it a viable lucrative business venture to start. Compared to other livestock that require a reasonable budget for feeding and starting, the snail business requires little capital to start and feed them. Snails are herbivorous phylum Mollusca that eats leaves and soft, tasty food available within the environment.
Notwithstanding the scale you want to start with, your business is scalable from a small to a big-scale business venture. The breeding nature of snails ensures that. Yearly, a snail lays 1,200 eggs. Multiplied by five female snails, it is 6000 snails in a year.
Despite this, the market for it is meagre while its demand keeps increasing. Here is what to do to leverage the demand for snails as a food source.
Starting a snail farming business
Before starting snail farming and drafting a well-structured business plan for it, there are some nitty gritty that you need to know about the business.
The species of snail to rear
The African Land Giant Snails are the best snail species for rearing in Nigeria. They are known for being the biggest in the world. The three species are Achatina Fulica (aka East African land snail), Achatina Achatina (aka giant Ghana snail or Giant tiger snail) and Archachatina Marginata (the giant West African snail).
Mainly used for farming in Nigeria is the Achatina Achatina, which is considered the biggest snail species in the world and lays about 1,200 eggs annually. They are also known for their preference for warm climatic regions in Nigeria.
Setting up the snail farm
Snails are naturally crawly. Hence, you must ensure they are reared in a spacious snailery. The lack of space leads to overcrowding of the snails and hinders an increase in population. The snailery can be a small piece of land or a container depending on the size of the business.
If it is on a piece of land, you can make a trench or solid pen with moist soil that is 10 inches deep. The soil must be soft to allow the snails ease to dig and lay their eggs and hole up during the dry season.
To stop the snails from crawling away, you can use vegetables and leguminous plants as fences. You can also grow green leaves, legumes, cocoyams, bananas, and dwarf pawpaw plants. It will serve as a habitat for the snails.
Since the phylum Mollusca family are prone to crawling insects, you can protect them by building a gutter around the snail breeding environment.
Other alternatives of rearing snails for business
You can get empty containers such as drums. To make it appropriate for the snail business, you must create holes that will serve as the drainage system before filling it with about 10 inches of soil. To control them from crawling out, fix a removable and transparent net on the container.
As containers are not spacious enough, add about five to six breeders into the container. Since snails like dark and cold spaces, ensure to maintain the proper humidity. You can improvise by using fresh leaves and a wet cloth to control it.
In selecting the snails to rear in your snailery, pick the good healthy ones to ensure profitability. A snail that has a lip means it is a fully grown snail.
Feeding, rearing, and breeding
This is why snails are considered the easiest to rear, as they eat anything soft and tasty that is organic and non-toxic.
This includes cabbage, cucumber, mango, banana, pineapple, eggplant, pear, tomato, paw-paw, cassava, okra leaves, or lettuce. They also like household foods.
The breeding season is essential for your business as it determines your revenue. Mating occurs in the spring and summer. Snails are hermaphrodites; hence, they can fertilise each other once they are mature. To ensure the eggs are correctly incubated, use high-quality soil with the right temperature and humidity.