There is no doubt that Nigeria is blessed with numerous natural resources for the production of consumable and non-consumable goods. In early 50s, agriculture contributed a large percentage to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) before crude oil was discovered in the southern region.
The oil boom era, however, led to the neglect of a number of agricultural resources, exploration for manufacturing and farming activities. Snail production as a neglected farming activity is one of the profitable businesses in Ghana, Kenya, Cameroun and South Africa, where it is being done on small and commercial scales.
In Nigeria, for the people who engaged in the farming, according to a recent study, earned average net revenue of N25, 452 per production period when they expended a total cost of N8, 347. With this figure, Agricultural Economists believe that making ₦5,000,000 annually in snail rearing is a done deal if you do it well and get it right. Due to its low capital investment, the business is appropriate for those who want to augment their income. Here are the tips on how to get it right.
Two systems are recommended by experts for the production of different species of snail either at small or large scale level. These are indoor and outdoor systems. The indoor system encompasses raising snails in pens situated in a building while outdoor affords farmers opportunity of raising snails on pastures outside a building.
When the outdoor system is adopted, snails may not be fed. Essentially, aspiring snail farmers need to put location, soil type, moisture content, wind direction, lime content of the soil and environmental temperature into consideration while establishing the business.
Achatina Fulica, Achatina Achatina, Archachatina Marginata are the snail species that have been proved to be profitable by farmers. Out of these species, majority favour Achatina because it grows faster than others. In a season, a mature snail can reproduce 100 to 300 new snails depending on the breed. Within 12 to 24 months, your snails are ready for harvesting.
Apart from buying species from breed-sellers or from Agricultural institutes in the country, you can equally pick them (Snails) from bush by clearing a little portion of land during rainy season and sprinkle spicy fruits like pineapple, pawpaw, plantain, banana and so on at about 5o’clock in the evening, when you go back there about 7pm or 8pm, you will pick up snails suitable for rearing. Repeat the procedure until you get enough quantity.
Another way could be to pick up snail eggs littered in the marketplace where it is sold and through a technique, check the fertility of the eggs because some of them must have lost fertility due to the exposure to sunlight.
The eggs are later put inside a container containing wet sand and covered with cocoyam leaf. Between 21 to 28 days, the eggs would hatch into baby snails. You can start with N40, 000 to N50, 000 depending on the type of system you want to employ and scale (small or commercial).
Where the money is?
In developed and developing countries, the business is lucrative due to ever increasing consumption rate. For instance, France has about 5 million kg per annum consumption. Italy is believed to consume about 306 million snails every year while Cote d’ Ivoire has an estimated annual snail consumption of 7.9 million kg. The annual demand for snail in Nigeria is about 7.5 million kg.
Let us do the analysis and see where the money is. If you are exporting your snails to France which has about 5 million consumption rate and secured half of the market, with the current exchange rate of N490 to a dollar you will be making N24.5 million when you sold at N4,900.00 ($10) per Kg (500 pieces constituted a Kg at the export market).
You will make the revenue when you must have produced 10, 000 pieces for the market (France). Locally, you are likely to earn between N1.2billion and N3 billion when you sold at N250 or N600 per snail. The income earned on the sales; however, depend on the size of species you want to sell. This factor has been found to be the most important factor determining the profitability of snail business.