Snail meat has been consumed by humans worldwide since prehistoric times. It is high in protein (12- 16%) and Iron (45-50 mg/kg), low and contains almost all the ammo acids needed by humans. A recent study has also shown that the glandular substances edible snail meat cause agglutination of certain bacteria, which could be of value in fighting varieties of ailments.
Snail Farming in Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya is a very profitable business venture but surprisingly neglected by a huge number of Nigerians. In West Africa, snail meat has traditionally been a major ingredient in the diet of people living in the high forest belt (the forested area other than the savannah forest). In Cöte d’Ivoire, for example, an estimated
7.9 million kg are eaten annually. In Ghana, it is clear that demand currently outstrips supply.
Snail farming in Nigeria also plays an important role in folk medicine, like in Ghana, the bluish liquid obtained from its shell when the meat has been removed is believed to be good for infant development. The high iron content of the meat is considered important in treating anemia. Also in the past, it was recommended for combating ulcers and asthma.
Snails can be exported to foreign countries like Europe and North America. However, with this considerable amount of foreign and local demand Nigerians are still ignorant of this trade. Read our e-book manual
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Types of Snails
There are various species of snails, but this article will concentrate on the Giant African Land Snail (GAL), specifically the species of Achatina achatina, Achatina fulica and Archachatina marginata.
Achatina achatina: The Achatina achatina (giant snail, tiger snail) is a widely distributed snail species especially in West Africa (Particularly in Nigeria, Benin, Cote d’ Ivoire, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Liberia). They can grow up to 30 cm in body length and 25cm in shell height. An average adult shell length is 18cm, with an average diameter of 9cm. The species prefers warm conditions 25-30◦C and relative humidity of 80-95% for growing conditions. The conically shaped, fairly pointed shell is brownish with a characteristic of the stripe pattern, that why it is called the tiger snail.
Achatina fulica: The Achatina fulica (garden snail, foolish snail) is a large snail, reaching 20cm in length or occasionally more, with a shell length up to 20cm and a maximum diameter of 12cm. This species originated from in the coastal regions o0f East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania) and by the 19th century, it had extended to Ethopia, southern Somalia, and Northern Mozambique. It can adapt to a wide range of environments, modifying its life to suit local conditions. The conical spiraled shell is predominantly brown with weak, darker branded markings across the spiral. A mature species of this snail weighs 250 grams.
Archachatina marginata: The Archachatina marginata (big black snail, giant African land snail) is large that grows to about 20cm in length and weighs 500 grams. The shell is much less pointed than the Achatina species, the roundness is most obvious in younger animals. The strata in the shell may give the appearance of a “woven” texture. The head of the snail is dark or gray with its foot lightly shaded. They can grow very well in a good drain place and less in a dry place.
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Benefits of snail farming in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana
- Production of Meat: As earlier said, a snail can be farmed for meat. Its meat can either be cooked or fried and contains a good amount of protein (12-16%) and Iron (45-50 mg/kg).
- Medicinal purpose: The liquid can be used to cleanse the eyes of a victim of snake spittle and in Ghana can be used for infant development.
- Source of Employment: Venturing into snail farming as a business can help those who are unemployed in our society.
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Snail farming in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana
The site Location
The location of the site plays an important role for snail farming in Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya, most species of snails thrives best in areas with a moderate temperature and high humidity. Too much wind can accelerate moisture loss in snails, therefore to prevent moisture the land must be sited in a place that protected from the wind. The soil area is also very important as snails grow well on good soils.
Constructing a snailery
A proper constructing for the housing of snail is necessary because the snail is master escapists. The housing method could be extensive, semi-intensive and intensive, on whatever you decide, it should have escape proof so that you don’t wake up one morning and find your snail in your neighbor’s house or garden.
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The stocking density affects the growth of the snails. High stocking density tends to slow down the growth of the snails and develop them into small adults, they equally lay fewer clutches of eggs and fewer eggs per clutch.
Food and Feeding
Food and feeding of snails should not really be a problem because snails are vegetarians and will accept most types of food. However, they avoid plants that have hairy leaves and produce toxic chemicals like physic nuts (Jathropa caras). Please note that snails are not fast growing animals, it takes about 15 months for Achatina achatina to reach full maturity even if they eat a huge quantity of food with quality.
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Predators, parasites, and diseases
The predators that can eat your snails includes; man, snakes, mice, rats, frogs and toads, domesticated birds etc. Beware of parasites because they can eat the snails’ body tissue until the snails are reduced to putrefying mass and pupate within the shell, making your investments a waste.
snail farming in Nigeria
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