Dr Yemi Popoola, a Livestock Specialist at the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, says snail farming is a very profitable means of livelihood.
Popoola told our reporters on Wednesday in Ibadan that Nigerians ought to explore snail farming as the Federal Government was now promoting the diversification of the economy.
The expert noted that snail breeding could yield a quick profit if the farmers understood the essentials of modern techniques and focused on the species in high demand in Nigeria.
According to him, snail farming requires less capital and space compared to poultry and pig farming while the management practices are simple.
“Snail farming could be practiced as secondary occupation because it requires less time to maintain while their feed is cheap and can be locally sourced.
“ These include leaves, tubers, vegetables as well as farm and household wastes.
“Snail also has a great market all over the country and in the West African sub-region.
“Domestic snail farming in Nigeria can meet up the family nutritional demands. Commercial snail production can decrease the importation of frozen meat or fish from foreign countries.
‘’This can save money and make the economy of Nigeria strong,” he said.
He advised snail farmers to take advantage of the seasonality of its market to gain premium prices for their snails.
“Target the high-end customers, hotels, restaurants and households which can afford to pay a premium for a steady supply of the product.
“If you supply all year round, you are likely to earn less during the rainy season when supply is in abundance and more in the dry season when the product is scarce.
“You can buy cheaply from research institutes, farmers and other remote areas while the supply is high during the rainy season.
“ You should maintain a healthy stock of large snails that you can sell to your customers when supply falls in the dry season.
“But to achieve this, there is a very important condition. The size of your snails must be large and intimidating enough to command a high price.
“For this to happen, you must start your snail farming with the right species—the Giant African land snails.
“ You must ensure proper breeding, stocking, mulching and feeding practices to achieve the huge size that will make you a highly sought after supplier,” he said.