Tuesday, June 29, 2010



Snails are creeping wild African animals with well developed spiral shell cover. They are classified generally as terrestrial gastropod molasses and are popularly known as “Congo Meat” they are forest animals predominantly found in the low-land rain forest region of West Africa: High humidity and Shady canopy are required for the continued existence and biological activities of snails. Snails are found particularly plentiful in the rainy season among damp vegetation and hollows. In Africa South of the Sahara, India, France and Britain snails “Congo Meat” have become very popular in both urban and rural areas. When the rains are heaviest and the annual floods are very high, snails climb the branches of trees and hide within holes in order to avoid the flooded marshes. In the dry season they also avoid the direct light and heat and creep under leaves or stay in dark and shady places for cover.

Snails are a healthy food, high in protein with almost no fat. While they contain a small amount of cholesterol they are low in kilojoules and also contain amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Since snail has the highest level of meat protein with zero level of fats. This makes it a rich delicacy for the aged, those who are health conscious and ladies that are mindful of over weight. Due to the fact, that snails are rich in calcium and poly saturated fatty acids, it is highly recommended for cases of ricket or bone problems and children. The rich level of mineral salts, iron and iodine, positions snails as a recommended regular delicacy for pregnant and nursing mothers. From the above analysis, it is also clear that the poor lipid content of snail makes it to be about the only meat apart from fish to be recommended for liver diseased patients, arteriosclerosis, stroke and asthma patients. It is also recommended for diabetic and hypertensive patients.

Snails are very easy to rear, they do not bite, kick, sting or harm and they don’t mess up the environment like other livestock. Snail is a hermaphrodite and has male and female reproductive organ, although two snails have to mate in order to fertilize their eggs. Snails are nocturnal animals and more active at night. In search of food, they are great wanderers and can cross rough surfaces to climb wall and fence. Snails are highly sensitive to temperature changes, they seek shades on a hot day and aestivate during extremely hot weather to avoid loss of water. They also have a good sense of smell and can perceive favourite food from a distance of 60cm. at the slightest touch, snails will shrink and repetition will cause it to withdraw into the shell.

In many areas of Africa, snails occur in the wild from where they are gathered and collected for sale. Snails are noiseless, odourless, harmless and very easy to transport. As bush burning, deforestation and development is driving the wild snails to extinction people are coming to terms with the fact that unless they exploit the artificial breeding of snails, very soon the privileged menu will be empty of this healthful meat. And to their utter dismay, it is proven to be excessively profitable. Snails have been intensively reared in many European and Northern Africa countries where they have been an important export product for many years. Inspite of the nutritional, medical and economic value of snails, snail farming is however, not yet a popular venture in Nigeria. People are only now becoming more and more aware of the great potential inherent in snail farming.

Not all snails grow to a large size. Some are dwarfs others are giant size in various ages. A starter should get the best specie that grows fast and lay healthy eggs. The archachatina marginata remains the best specie for Nigeria. Archachatina Marginata specie is widely known as West African giant snail and especially found in Nigeria. The Marginata specie (Congo Meat) is very pricely and matures between 10-12 months. Today in Nigeria, we have put in place an indigenous scientific approach to breeding African archachatina Marginata snail methods and techniques that guarantees fast growth and high productivity. We now have specially formulated food supplements and concentrates, special management methods, modern processing and packaging methods.

Snails are very good food providing animal protein. They can be fried, roasted, and boiled as the popular “Congo Meat” and served together with any type of soup.

They have very high market value of local consumption or for export. For export the adult snails are killed by dipping them into very hot water in an erated position and boiled for 13-25 minutes. After cooling, the flesh is scooped out of the shell and the edible portions chopped out. These are repeatedly washed with lime water, salt water or vinegar before packing in polythene bags of four to eight kilograms and kept frozen before exportation. Even snail shells can be used to provide calcium to produce snail food and feeds for livestock industries.

Due to the healing wonder of snail meat, local demand is increasing as people become more health conscious with the aged and seniors increasing. Demand actually exceeds supplies, demand in the international market increases too as the world is getting more health conscious than ever and it is not uncommon to hear that in London, they pay as much as one pound for a piece of Africa giant snail.

It is obvious that we are now living in the world of entrepreneurs which is the surest way to greatness, it is increasingly obvious that people begin to think of alternative source of income, ideas and business whose capital input (in terms of finance, human resources, time and space) is relatively low at least affordable. Snail farming fits perfectly into this picture. The capital outlay is affordable especially compared to its returns. It is relatively cheap to start and manage when you measure it against productivity. It transforms to thousand of percentage in profit. Management of snail farm needs little time, energy and space. But, Snail farm should not be sited in an area that is prone to bush fire, erosion, ants’ infestation and floods.

Here, one has to determine, whether one wants to go into a big or small-scale commercial venture. Secondly, the rearing system to adopt whether, pasture or free- range system, pen or box system, water rack system or intensive system.

It is better for a starter to stock already domesticated young snails. This shall enable the young snails to get used to their new environment and confinement as they grow to adult. Wild adult snails caught and immediately confined may die severally because of the confinement, environmental change and the food. Presently in our farm we have over 30,000 prolific young snails ready for sale to farmers who will raise them to adult snails that will lay healthy eggs.

Snail meat is a delicacy in Nigeria today and is served in big hotels and restaurants as well as some joints patronized by middle to high level people. Depending on your experience, snail can be packaged to outfits as pepper soup meat, suya, frozen or dried meat. Most Italians, Australians and French people are looking for the meat as regular meal and also to entertain most of their guests from abroad. If you rear snail in commercial quantity under good hygienic condition, fast foods restaurants will be your regular customers. They will only need your assurance of regular supply per week.

In Nigeria, except in the media, there is no real impact of government’s poverty eradication programme on the poor Nigerians yet, when we realised the lip service of the government in this direction we created a programme, Self Employment Development Centre (SEDEC). With SEDEC, we organise seminars at a very low cost and encourage people to go into snail, fish and grasscutter farming.

Personally, I found out that, our academic curricular is not structured to make us business conscious that is why people don’t understand the concept of private enterprise. After school, to pick up business ideas becomes very difficult, this is the reason many people are unemployed. While in school, they believe that the job is waiting for them.

It is no more like that today, you have to create job for yourself and others.

The benefits of snail farming are as follows:

As a delicacy, snail meat is popularly accepted all over Nigeria with no religious/tribal reject. Hence it finds a ready market all over the Nation and West African region.
The business of producing, processing, transporting, storing, financing and servicing snail products should give employment to many people.
Rearing of snail for local consumption will decrease importation of frozen fish, chicken and turkey into the country and producing snail for export will greatly enhance the economic potential.
It will firm up the Naira, improve the GDP, reduce both inflation and create more jobs for Nigerians. Over a million jobs can be created in snail industry alone.

In order to assist a lot of people tap into this highly lucrative venture. SCHANAK AGRO CONSULTING, now hold practical seminar on fish and Livestock farming every 1st Saturday of the month. manuals and Vcds are also available to enable them know all the techniques and secrets of intensive and free-range snail farming. Our organization also renders general consultancy services for the followings: Snail farm construction, Sales of prolific snail breeders, POINT OF LAY and their feed. We can help you to raise a big or small backyard snail farm anywhere in Nigeria.

Why we embark on this awareness creation

To show people how to make money through snail farming.
To reveal the economic importance, nutritional and medicinal value of snails.
To contribute to the Nations efforts in attaining food security.
To help Nigerians by empowering the unemployed graduates, school leavers and income seeking people to develop entrepreneurial skills towards self-reliance.
To create employment for both skilled and unskilled people thereby helping to reduce the current high level of crime/unemployment in the society.

Prince Arinze Onebunne

For free consultancy on Snail Farming, contact me on: +234-8033262808, 802 937 3076