How to Start and Grow a Successful Snail Farming Business in Nigeria

by Barakat Hammed

Do you know that snail farming is an industry worth over 12 billion dollars with an annual demand of about 7.5 million kilograms in Nigeria? It’s a highly profitable agribusiness that requires little capital and no large land ownership to get started. As someone with extensive experience in snail farming, I can confidently say that anyone can start and succeed in this venture with just a bit of knowledge and a few hours of daily work.

What makes snail farming such a great opportunity is the high demand for snails both locally and internationally. You can tap into this growing market with the right techniques and approach and reap significant profits. In this article, I’ll share everything you need to know to start and grow a successful snail farming business in Nigeria.

What is Snail Farming?

Snail farming is the process of raising edible land snails for both human consumption and economic use. Snail farming is also called heliculture. It is known to be one of the most profitable agribusinesses in Nigeria as it requires less capital and yields a high return. 

snail

Snail

Snail is a crawling animal that has both male and female reproductive organs, which makes its breeding faster and easier. It is also known to have a lot of nutritional value as it is an important source of protein, calcium, phosphorus and iron with low cholesterol and fats. It is also used in making cosmetics. 

How to Start and Grow a Snail Farming Business in Nigeria

Starting a business without proper knowledge can be risky, especially in snail farming. While it’s true that snail farming can be quite lucrative, it’s essential to have a solid understanding of the ins and outs of the business before diving in. You’ll need critical information from capital to marketing and feeding to make your snail farm successful. 

Speaking of capital, the amount you need to start your snail farm will depend on the size you envision – whether it’s a small, medium or large-scale operation. To get started, you should budget between ₦60,000 and ₦100,000 for a small-scale snail farming business. With the right knowledge and preparation, you can start a successful snail farming business and reap the rewards of this lucrative venture.

In this business, the following must be taken into consideration to achieve a profitable yield at the end of the day:

  1. Choosing suitable snail species

Choosing the right snail species is crucial when starting a profitable snail farming business in Nigeria. With several snail breeds available for rearing in the country, it can be overwhelming to determine the most suitable species for your farm. Some of the snail breeds that can be reared in Nigeria include the Garden snail (Cornu aspersum), Burgundy snail (Helix pomatia), White garden snail (Theba snail) and three African giant snail species (Archachatina marginata, Achatina achatina and Achatina fulica). However, for optimal profits in snail farming, Archachatina marginata and Achatina achatina species are the most suitable options.

  • Archachatina marginata

The Giant African Land Snail, also known as Archachatina marginata, is highly sought-after locally and internationally due to its exceptional nutritional value. This species has a lifespan of up to 10 years, with proper care. It is considered the best choice for snail farming because of its ability to produce numerous big-size eggs quickly and rapid growth rate.

giant african land snail

Giant African Land Snail (Archachatina Marginata)

Also, it boasts a large flesh size that can weigh up to 500g at maturity. You can identify this species by its darker head, V-shaped tail, and blueish-white outer lip.

  • Achatina achatina

While African Giant Tiger Land Snail may not be as popular as its cousin, Archachatina marginata, it certainly has its unique personality. This snail is a bit of a picky eater and will only feast on certain types of feed, making it a bit of a diva in the snail world. But don’t let its selective nature fool you.

giant African Tiger snail

Giant African Tiger Snail (Achatina achatina)

This specie is still suitable for a profitable snail farming business, as it produces more eggs than Archachatina marginata. Plus, with its distinctive pointed tip, tiger-striped shell, and silver-brown body, it’s sure to add a touch of exotic flair to your snail farm.

  1. Housing

Housing for the snail is essential in starting a snail farming business. The size of the farm needed to start your business depends on the scale of the business. It can be inside boxes or wire gauze in your backyard, a garden or a small farm. However, it is necessary to have permanent farmland for commercial farming. 

The housing can also be sorted based on the age of the snails, which are newly hatched, young and mature snails. It is important to note that snails thrive well in moist areas. Their housing should be kept away from wind exposure.

  1. Feeding

Snails are quite remarkable creatures. They are not only incredibly cost-effective, but can also thrive on a diverse range of feeds and plants. From pawpaw and banana to potato and cucumber, the leaves of these plants are all on the menu for your snails.

Regarding homemade food, snails are best fed with meals that are low in salt. And for even better results, consider using the chicken feed, as it can greatly enhance the growth of your snails. While young snails should be fed with chicken mash, pellets are more suitable for mature ones.

It’s important to note that water is crucial for the healthy growth of snails. Lack of water in their feed can cause stunted growth, so keep their water supply in check. Additionally, feeding snails early in the morning and late at night is best to ensure they get the required nutrients.

Then, consider including supplements in their feed to maintain strong shells and boost their growth. With these tips, you can be sure your snails will grow healthy and strong.

Read Also: 8 Easy Steps to Start a Profitable Small-Scale Poultry Farming Business in Nigeria

  1. Soil type and requirements

Soil is the main habitat of snails and is needed for digging and ingesting. The soil should therefore be rich in nourishment in an accurate quantity. The soil must be rich in calcium, and other nutrients, as its deficiency may cause fragile shells. It is suggested to go for sandy-loamy soil as it is rich in organic contents.

Soil for snail farming business should have these characteristics:

  • Contain organic contents like phosphorus and calcium
  • pH should be neutral
  • Contain less sand and clay as they leave snails dehydrated
  1. Growth and Reproduction

Snails can be categorised into hatchling, young and mature based on their ages and sizes. Matured snails are known to lay eggs between 8-12 months, depending on the species. The eggs hatch in 4-6 weeks and mature for sale in about two years.

The hatchling should be kept in separate housing for proper growth and protection. The matured ones can be identified by the shell brim, which is thicker than the other parts of the shell.

  1. Harvesting

Harvesting mature snails can be a daunting task for any farmer, but the market value is worth the wait. After two years of nurturing and caring for the snails, it’s time to reap the rewards. However, it’s important to remember that not all matured snails should be harvested for the market, as some are required for stock keeping. When it comes to the actual harvest, pack the snails in a spacious container to prevent any shell breakage.

Read Also: Why You Should Venture into Agriculture in Nigeria

How Can You Learn About Snail Farming Business?

Several resources are available for learning about snail farming, including online sources such as books and manuals, mentoring programs, and professional courses from institutions like the National Horticulture Research Institute (NIHORT) and the Snail Farmers Association Nigeria.

One helpful book I recommend is “Snail Farming in West Africa: a practical guide” by Joseph R. Cobbinah. With these resources, you can gain the knowledge and skills to start and run a successful snail farming business in Nigeria.

Challenges Encountered by Snail Farmers in Nigeria

It is important to know that the snail farming business has challenges. These challenges can reduce the farmer’s profit or even cause a big loss at the end of the day. Some of these challenges are:

  • Pests and diseases
  • Agrochemicals
  • Weather and climate conditions
  • Environmental factors
  • Bush burning
  • Infections
  • Predators

Read Also: Fish Farming in Nigeria: All You Need to Know

Conclusion

On this note, snail farmers should understand that this snail farming business is a lucrative farming operation that requires little attention from the farmer. Some conditions can threaten its profit if proper care is not taken. Farmers are advised to know about these challenges that can be faced in this farming business.

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About Author

Avatar of Barakat Hammed
Barakat Hammed
Barakat is a professional content writer with competence in academic writing, ebooks, and blog posts. To help you convey your ideas to your audience, she provides articles written in the most appropriate style and tone.

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