Over the past few years, the agricultural sector has witnessed tremendous growth creating more jobs for people and putting food on the table of many.
Presently, we have more young entrepreneurs in the sector than before and one of those areas in the agricultural sector that’s lucrative is snail farming!
Yes, you heard me correctly. But snail farming is yet to be explored fully like others.
So today you will learn how to start a snail farming business that generates income and creates employment for others.
Let’s jump into it.
Why Invest in Snail Farming Business
Statistics have shown that the demand for snails annually in Nigeria is well above 7.5 million kg. Moving to the international scene, the snail business is booming both in North America and Europe.
The US, alone annually imports more than $4million worth of snails from around the globe.
Now, let’s narrow it down to the market opportunities in Nigeria. You have hostels, restaurants, malls, fast food joints, and times as regular customers to supply to. However, you have to be able to supply the quantities they want.
Currently, the customers are higher than the farmers or suppliers and that’s the reason why snails are expensive. Because demand is higher than supply.
Seeing that demand is higher than supply, is an indication that the market is not yet saturated like others.
I know you’re eager to know how to start this business but let’s consider how profitable this business is before learning how to start it.
Profitability of the Business
You need money to start a snail business and you need it for:
- Buying fresh snails and feeds
- Processing and marketing the snail products
- Transportation, etc.
However, the amount depends on how big your family will be.
Let’s now see how profitable this business is and if it’s what investing your hard-earned money into.
Assume you buy 1 fresh snail = N100
And you want to start the business with 300 snails
N100 × 300 = 30,000
Understand that you can decide to start with more snails.
I recommend you buy the achatina achatina species of snail. Because of how available they are here in Nigeria and one of them can lay 200 to 400 once for 2 to 3 times yearly.
Let’s say that 100 out of 300 snails lay 50 eggs each.
100 × 50
And 3,000 out of the 5,000 eggs reached the adult stage.
1 snail is sold for N400
400 × 3,000
= N1,200,000.00 in one harvest sales.
Now imagine how you will make if the 100 snails lay up to 200 eggs each. However, as a beginner, you have to understand that you must invest your time, energy, and money to grow your snail farming business into a profitable one.
Steps to Starting a Snail Farm
1: A feasibility study
Investing in a business without carrying out a proper feasibility study is a suicidal mission.
The feasibility study will help you with a clear plan and enable you to create a roadmap on how to succeed in the business.
It gives you in-depth insights into the market, competitors, pricing, risks involved, and how to successfully run and manage the farm.
You will also know where to locate your farm, your customers, the time the snails mate and lay eggs, and strategies to win customers over.
The feasibility study will equip you with knowledge about the price of the equipment as well as the number of manpower you need.
Meaning without proper research you won’t know how to run this business.
2: Setting up the housing
The housing must be spacious enough for the snails to graze freely. Creating enough space for them prevents overcrowding, which impedes snail development and reduces risks of outbreak of any disease.
Moreover, you should know that the snails can crawl out of the housing, so ensure that the house is escape-proofed to avoid that happening.
The place must be surrounded by trees (e.g plantain, banana shrubs) to give shade and humidity to the housing. Also, the soil depth should be around 10 inches to aid in their egg-laying process.
3: Buying of snails
The feasibility study you did at the beginning will help to know where to buy snails at a reduced price. Places you can buy snails such as snail farms, village markets or get from bushes, etc.
As a beginner, I recommend that you buy healthy and fully grown snails that can lay eggs in no distance of time and help in populating your farm.
To know the ones that are fully grown, check its shell to know if it has a lip.
4: Feeding and rearing
Snails are known vegetarians and they can be fed with varieties of vegetables such as cucumber, cabbage, mango, eggplants, pear, pawpaw, okra leaves, tomatoes, cassava, etc.
An important part of this business is mating and laying eggs. Snails mate during spring and summertime. And as hermaphrodites, they can fertilize themselves as long as they are mature enough.
5: Harvesting and selling
Allow the snails to be mature enough before harvesting them and not all should be harvested. Others should be left for rearing with the little ones to keep the business.
You need good marketing strategies to thrive in this business and to let people know about your snail farm.
I recommend you do the following:
- Provide quality snails.
- Build good customer relationships.
- Get branded t-shirts and polos for you and your team with your business name and number printed on them.
- Offer discounts to customers that won’t affect the business.
We would love to hear your thoughts and questions in the comment box.