Snail farming in Nigeria; How much money can you make?

snail farming guide

Are you looking for an alternative profitable agriculture business idea in Kenya? In this post, agcenture will explore how profitable is snail farming. Besides, you will find the best tips on how to raise them such as the best species and snail farming production systems.

What is snail farming?

Heliciculture or snail farming, is the process of raising edible land snails, primarily for human consumption or cosmetic use. The meat and snail eggs can be consumed as escargot and as a type of caviar respectively. Their Mucus, or the snail slime, has medical properties and is widely used in cosmetics.

What is the value of snail farming global market?

The global snail farming industry is a $12 billion industry. They are raised for their snail meat and snail eggs that are cooked as escargot and as caviar respectively. The two are some of the most popular snail dish or recipe in Italy and France. Finally, the snail mucus or slime has many medical properties. It’s widely used in the cosmetic industry.

Where can you sell snail products in Kenya?

There is a high demand for snail and theuir products abroad and locally. They include HACO industries which is Looking for local high-quality slime, BIDCO that can buy snail shells to make good animal feeds and JKUAT that buys snail slime at Ksh 1200 per liter.

Snail meat cultivation and consumption is most popular in Europe. The leading markets are the France, Italy and Spain. The other countries with a significant market are the USA, China and Indonesia.

According to research, snail farming is one if the fastest growing commercial farming ventures in Africa given its low-cost high returns benefits. The leading snail farming countries in Africa are Algeria, Nigeria, Ghana and Coted d’Ivoire. In Kenya, it generating a lot of interest among young commercial farmers and research institutions such as the JKUAT.

Which are the best snail species for farming?

There are many snail species that you can grow in your farm. They include the sea and land snails. the 3 land snail species that are edible and commercially grown in Nigeria (Africa) are;

  • Archachatina Marginata (Gianst West African Snail)
  • Achatina Achatina (Giant Ghana/Tiger snail)
  • Achatina Fulica (East African Land snail)
Achatina AchatinaArchachatina Marginata
Weighs 150-200 gramsWeigh 150-200 grams
Measures 90-130 mmMeasures 90-130 mm
Strong brown shellStrong brown shell
Matures in 2 yearsMature in 2 years
Lays 100-300 eggs (1-2 times) per seasonLays 5-10 eggs (4-8 times) per season

On the other hand, Helix Pomatia and Helix Aspersa are the common escargot or garden snails. They are commonly farmed in Europe and the USA.

The key features of best snails for farming are summarized in the table below.

Helix PomatiaHelix Aspersa
Weighs 15-25 gramsWeighs 4-20 grams
Measures 40-50 mmMeasures 30-45 m
Has a strong shell which is pale brown and off whiteWeak shells with broken stripes which are light brown to black
Matures in 2-3 yearsMatures in one years
Lays 30-50 eggs per seasonLays 40-170 eggs (1-3 times) per season

Why you should consider commercial snail farming

Below are the best benefits of snail farming in Kenya.

Available Market; Snail meat consumption in Kenya has a growing niche market and demand among Ghanaians, Cameroonians, Nigerians, Senegalese, Sierra Leone and Togolese, South Americans and Asian immigrants living in the country. Other products such as snail slime, snail shells has a high demand among potential buyers such as HACO industries, JKUAT and BIDCO.

Highly Profitable; Snail products are highly profitable in Kenya compared to other crop, livestock and poultry products. For instance, Snail meat sells for sh.2,000 to 3,000 per kilo compared to around sh 500 per kg of beef. You can also sell a litre of snail slime at sh 1200 per litre compared to sh 50 for a litre of raw cow milk.

Cheap to start and run; Snail farming is easy with low start up and running costs. Unlike complex livestock farming, snail farmers has indicated you will need around $1500 to establish. You can rely on readily available herbs, fruits and vegetables to feed them. Besides, you do not have to incur a lot on care or their care.

Highly Nutritious; 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.

Diversification; What makes snail farming such as better choice for alternative commercial farming? You can term snails as a multipurpose micro-livestock. Apart from rearing them for snail meat, you can harvest and sell juvenile snail to other farmers. snail shells, snail slime and other products across various industries or buyers. Besides, as an entrepreneurial farmer, hone your skills and offer consulting services and training to younger farmers.

Small space; Snail farming require small space to establish making it a suitable agribusiness idea for urban farming. Besides it is an ideal idea for women and youth farmers who face challenges in accessing farming land in Africa.

Challenges facing snail farmers

Which key risks are you likely to face as a snail farmers in Kenya? Some of the common challenges according to successful snail farmers in the region include;

Pests & predators; Snails are quite vulnerable to predators such as lizards, caterpillars, rats, ground beetles, termites and spiders. Flies on the other hand lay eggs and the maggots end up eating the snails.

Marketing; Snail consumption is still treated with disgust among many potential consumers.

How much does it cost to start & run a snail farming business

Wondering how much money you will spend to establish and run a snail business in Kenya? Studies has indicated you will need a minimum of $1500 or Ksh 150,000 to start a snail business in Kenya. The cost include both the capital/ fixed expenses and the working capital.

The table below is a summary of the key costs with a brief explanation.

Rent (optional)A mount of lease or rent payable to use land or buildings for your snail farming where they are not owned
Greenhouse & HutchesConstruct a 15 by 8 meters green house slainery to shelter them from weather, predators and thieves.
EquipmentEquip your snail farms with farming tools and equipment needed in daily care and snails handling such as PPE, Shovels, weighing machine etc.
Breeding snails.Cash paid to buy small or juvenile stock to fill in your pens. To lower this cost, you can gather some from the wild
Salaries & wagesExpenses to pay farm managers and workers on your snail farm.
Snail food & calcium supplementsPurchases for vegetables, herbs and fruits from the market. Other cost is for purchasing calcium supplements to strengthen their shells. To lower the cost, grow some of your own food and rely on kitchen wastes and scraps.
Maintenance & RepairsExpenses on normal repairs and maintenance on farms assets.
Marketing costs.Cash needed to prepare and transport mature snails from the farm to the market. These may include transport, fuel etc.
UtilitiesYour expenditure on electricity bills, water bills, insurance, telephone, internet etc.
TaxesA portion of your income payable to the tax authorities as well as cess and levies to the county government
KWS PermitA sh 1500 permit from Kenya Wildlife Services to allow your wildlife farming.

How much money can you make farming snails

According to a successful snail farmer in Nakuru, Kenya, You can get between Ksh2,000 and Ksh3,000 per kilo of Giant African land variety (Achatinide fulica),snails. The money you can make will depend on the snail population in your farm. Other snail products such as snail meat sell for Ksh 1500 while snail slime is sold at sh 1200 per litre.

In the table below, see an estimate of income from a 7000 snails farm.

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