Snail farming in Nigeria is a very lucrative business. It has a slow yield but it provides a stable means of making money. Land snails are popularly referred to as Congo meat in a lot of African country. It belongs to the class of Mollusca known as Gastropod. There are different species of snails but not all of them are suitable for commercial farming in Nigeria.
The most significant nutrient in the rearing of snail is Calcium. Your snail needs adequate supply of calcium to be able to do well. Low intake of calcium will slow down the growth rate of your snail because calcium is required by the snails to form their shells. This would usually result in thin shell.
The good news is that food source that supply calcium is not difficult to get. Your snails can get it from the green outer leaves of cabbage which you can easily obtain from any Nigerian fruit and vegetable market.
A snail farmer provides food supply to the snail except in a very extensive snail farm. Depending on the type of farming established, the farmer either part or all the food requirement of the snail.
You can do this by either cultivating or buying snail food. Thus, the knowledge of what snail needs for proper growth and development is highly essential.
Juvenile snails thrives better with juicer feed sources whereas adult snails can be fed with stronger feeds and occasionally feed on soil substrate to get sufficient amount of calcium they need for proper development.
Snails feeding are not very difficult. The feed for rearing snail can be gotten from roughly every non-toxic organic without hair or wax like leaves, fruits, vegetables, tubers and household wastes that has no trace of salt.
The most commonly used feed for snails are banana, melon, cabbage, carrot, pawpaw, lettuce, cucumber, potato, pumpkin, plantain and so on.
A few farmers produce special types of feeds for snails. It is all left for you to decide the type of feed to use but you must consider the cost and the profit margin you hope to make. To me, there is absolutely no need to buy snail feed when you can easily get natural and cheaper sources of feed to rear your snail.
Snail Species that is suitable for Snail Farming are:
A medium sized to very large snail genus known as Achatina is the form of snail that is mostly reared. This snail is commonly the air-breathing, tropical land and terrestrial snails. There are roughly two hundred species of Achatinidae in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The species that are mostly farmed are Achatina achatina Linnaeus, Achatina marginata and Achatina Fulica. Breeder snails are the female and male snail breaders you need to start a snail farm.
- Achatina fulica
This is the East African land snail, or giant African land snail. It is air-breathing land snail that thrives in a terrestrial environment. It belongs to the family of Achatinidae.
It is the smallest of all forms of snail that are suitable for farming in Nigeria with narrow, conical shell. It is two times longer than the width and has a reddish-brown color with yellow frail vertical markings. The most common type has light coffee color.
- Achatina Achatina
Achatina achatina is commonly known as the giant Ghana snail or the giant tiger land snail. It is as well air breathing land snail. It is a giant hermaphrodite African land snail. This means that it has both female and male reproductive organs.
- Archachatina Marginata
This is commonly known as giant West African snail. It is the snail specie mostly used for snail farming because it is very big and the biggest snail specie globally. It also has the highest yield.