HELICULTURE AS A SOURCE OF INCOME IN NIGERIA.
If you are looking towards investing in the livestock industry to generate income, then one of your best option is to start Heliculture (snail farming). As a matter of fact, snail farming requires low start -up capital and anyone who is serious about business can generate good income from the business.
Heliculture is one area in the livestock farming industry which has the potential to ensure regular meat supply in the country and sustainable income for farmers.
Why should you invest in Heliculture?
- Heliculture requires only a small area of land to start with. Heliculture in Nigeria isn’t as common as other livestock farming. Therefore, competition is less.
- Unlike other animals, snails don’t fall sick so easily. Thereby making cost of maintenance very low
- It is not a capital-intensive business.
- The demand is huge. Snails are not only kept for food but have also found so much usefulness in the Pharmaceutical and beauty industries.
- Snails’ meat are also a good source of protein, is also very beneficial to people suffering from cardiovascular diseases and cancer
- Their feeding materials are cheap and locally available.
How to start Heliculture farming
One good thing about Heliculture (Snail farming) is that you can start small. You don’t need to blow your whole budget, you can start with few snails. Then you can upscale when you get more experience and more money.
This is how you start Heliculture farming.
Find out how and where to buy your stock, where your market is and how they usually sell. Find out if the business is profitable in your area, how many competitors you already have, where they are and what chances you have to make decent profit, all things being equal. Most of all, do a thorough cost research: buying and selling price, cost of pen construction, that sort of thing.
Choose a breed
There are two major species of snail for breeding in Nigeria
- Achatina achatina – Achatina achatina, commonly called the giant Ghana snail, also known as the giant tiger land snail, is a species of very large, air-breathing land snail, a terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusk in the family Achatinidae.
- Achatina marginata – Achatina marginata, commonly called the giant West African snail, is a species of air-breathing tropical land snail, a terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusk in the family Achatinidae. They can grow up to 20cm long. Archachatina marginata can live up to 10 years, and attain sexual maturity at 9-10 months.
Location and housing
Snails are easily dehydrated, and increase in the rate of wind, results to loss of moisture, which leads to dryness of the snails. To prevent snails from losing water so quickly, your snaileries (the snail house) must be located in environment that is protected from wind.
Make sure their cage is closely monitored not only to observe when there is a problem, but to keep their environment clean.
Snaileries (snail house) can differ from a patch of fence-protected ground, sheltered from the wind to a covered box if you are breeding in small scale. Plastic ventilated tank or a well-ventilated wooden cage. For larger population of snails, you can dug a trench or make a concrete pen with soil deep of about 10 inches, and cover it with screen or wire all around to prevent the snails from escaping
Snails need carbohydrates for energy, and protein for growth. In addition they require calcium (Ca) for their shells, as well as other minerals and vitamins. Snails mainly feeds on green leaves and fruits though they can utilize other ranges of foods. Feed your snails leaves, fruits, or even formulate from the feed mill. 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.
Getting the Snails for Farming (Foundation Stock): To start up a snail farm, it is advisable to get foundation stock from reputable farms instead of buying from the market after they have been exposed to sunlight and have dehydrated.
Predators and Ant control: Snails have many natural predators, which include lizard, rats, rodents, snake, etc.
The methods employed in the management of snail is very simple and can be easily practiced by anyone and the only thing the snail may demand is care. They rarely fall sick and you also don’t need to spend much to build snailery. Snails reproduce rapidly and it’s not an overstatement to say that you can get hundred percent returns on investment. In general it can be said that snail management is very easy and can be practiced by anyone.
There is always a market for snails. You can sell snails to local restaurants, local markets, or like many people do, by the road side where willing consumers will readily buy from you.
Everybody stands a chance in this business. Heliculture farming is lucrative and simple to start. So get in now and start building your own empire.