Snail Farming Business Plan in Nigeria / How to Start a Snail Farm
Do you have interest in starting a snail farming business in Nigeria? Do you need a sample template for a snail farming business plan in Nigeria? Did you answer YES to the above questions? Then you should carefully read this article. Before we get into the details of how to start a snail farm in Nigeria, let me show you the table of contents to the Snail Farming Business Plan in Nigeria
1) Executive summary the snail farm business: The summary includes introduction, products and services description, marketing and sales, etc
2) Company Overview of the snail farm: This section includes the mission statement, history and current status, markets and products, objectives, keys to success of the snail business
3) Product or Service description: Here we have described the product (snails)
4) Industry and Market Analysis: Introduction, industry analysis, market analysis, customer analysis, competitor analysis, SWOT Analysis
5) Marketing Strategy: Target market strategy, product/service strategy, pricing strategy, distribution strategy, advertising and promotion strategy, sales strategy, marketing and sales forecasts
6) Operations: Operations strategy, scope of operations, operating expenses
7) Development: Development strategy, development timeline, development expenses
8) Management: Company organization, management team, administrative expenses
9) Summary of Financials: Financial assumptions, financial forecasts, projected cash flow, income statement, balance sheet, profit and loss, profit margin, chart etc, financial risks
10) Appendices: Support for Product/Service Description (e.g., diagrams, pictures, etc.)
Financial Statements: Income Statement, balance sheets, cash flow statements , ratio analysis [3 years]
Heliculture is the branch of agriculture that deals with the study and rearing of snails (either for personal or commercial purposes). Snails are from the family of animals known scientifically as Molluscs (shell-bearing), other animals in this family include, mussels, squids, cuttlefish and slugs.
Humans have consumed snail meat from prehistoric times and so there is no proper documentation of when or where man started to consume snail meat as a food supplement. Predominantly in Africa, snails were handpicked in the bush usually in the night time but as human population increased and forests were turned into cities, the demand of snails fast outgrew the supply. This has created a need for commercial rearing of snails. Snail farming is one of the most underrated and overlooked forms of agriculture, especially in Nigeria. This is because some folks believe you can just walk into any bush and pick up snails so it cannot yield much income; permit me to say that they are woefully wrong. Understanding snail farming and taking proper steps will make the farmer so much income because there is a ready market of snail consumers.
One of the major advantages of snail farming is that it does not require much capital, meaning it is just perfect for the present economy of the nation.
CLASSES OF SNAILS
The snails consumed in Africa are known as the Giant African Land Snails (GALS) and they are further divided into the following groups:
- Achatina fulica
- Archachatina marginata
- Achatina achatina (the specie most consumed in Nigeria)
Achatina achatina is the most widely spread snail in West Africa, it is found in countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, etc. It is the most favorable snail as it grows to a very large size, sometimes up to 30cm, though it requires more humidity and it takes a longer time to reach sexual maturity than the other two species.
STARTING UP YOUR SNAIL FARM
Just like any business, there are steps that must be taken and factors that must be considered for the success of the business. Snail farming is not different, I will state below and try to explain as much as possible each requirement. Please note however that this is just a guide and you will require an in-depth feasibility study and proper business plan, just like any business venture, to succeed. Moreso, you will need to visit an experienced farmer to understand practical methods on how to raise your snails, as there are some practical issues that write ups will most likely never cover.
Join me on a journey of the basic requirements in starting your snail farm on a small/medium scale:
CAPITAL: Unlike most agribusinesses, snail farming is not capital intensive, as a matter of fact, it is one of the cheapest agribusinesses to venture into. Do I see a smile on your face? Yes, you are thinking what I am thinking, it is just perfect for a young graduate looking for a way to make income. The money needed is basically proportional to how large you desire the farm to be. So if you do not have so much to start, you can use the little capital you have to set up and gradually grow the business with patience and diligence to your dream business.
SITING THE FARM: A major advantage of snail farming is that they are environment friendly, they hardly pollute the environment with their waste plus they do not produce any noise. This means they can be raised in a residential area, the backyard of the farmer, or any other place the farmer finds conducive for him. Even though the farm can be sited anywhere, some guidelines still need to be followed in siting the farm, some of them include:
- Suitable climate: Climatic factors such as temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction all affect optimal growth in snails. Snails thrive in areas with moderate temperature and high humidity; with very high temperatures they go into aestivation and the hibernate when the temperature is too low. Low humidity and high wind speed make the snails dry up fast, leading to dormancy. The farm is best situated in an area protected from high winds and dryness, with stable/not frequently fluctuating temperatures.
- Pest/predator free: The farm should also be in a place free from predators and pests that can be of harm to the snails. There are several animals on this list such as rats, field mice, frogs, snakes, crows, lizards, millipedes, centipedes, etc.
- Soil requirements: The soil is the major habitat of the snail, in fact, the soil is to snail what water is to fish. This is because one of the major constituents of the snails’ shell, calcium, is gotten from the soil. The snail also satisfies its water need from the soil, as well as lays eggs in the soil. The soil needed for raising snails should be moist, loose, with high organic, calcium and magnesium content
All these must be considered as they are paramount to the survival of the snail and the thriving of the farm. The farmer should also make economic decisions such as distance from market, transportation, etc. in making a decision on what location best suites his snail farm.
HOUSING SYSTEMS: Just as in any other branch of livestock farming, there are several housing systems that the farmer can choose from to house his snails, depending on what kind of farming the farmer wants to indulge in and how much capital the farmer has. Broadly, there are three kinds of housing systems:
- Extensive system: This involves outdoor pens with free range grazing.
- Semi intensive system: In this form, the eggs are laid and left to hatch in a controlled environment for 6-8 weeks, after which the snails are released into the open field/free range.
- Intensive system: This kind involve closed systems or controlled environments. Several examples of this include car tires, hutch boxes, trench pens, greenhouses, plastic tunnel houses, etc. In this housing system, the farmer basically provides the feeding needs of the snails.
In setting up a housing system for the snails, some guidelines must be followed to avoid unnecessary eventualities on the farm, some of them are stated below:
- The place should be spacious to accommodate their growth needs. One of the major problems snails suffer from is overcrowding which could lead to high risk of diseases and hindrance to optimal growth.
- The place must be escape-proof as snails are master escapists. Within a seemingly short time, if proper measures are not taken, the snails could escape their pens and spread all over.
- The place should be easily accessible, flexible to work with, easy to place feeds and water and also easy to clean.
- The place should be predator-proof. As stated earlier, several predators attack snails and could cause damage to the farm. It is expedient that the farmer takes measures to protect the farm against such to avoid unnecessary losses.
It highly recommended for small/medium scale farmers to use old tires, drums or tanks to house their snails. It is also important to note that the floor of the pen should be loose, natural soil and not cement.
FEEDING YOUR SNAILS: Of note is that snails are vegetarians, meaning they feed basically on plants. The great advantage about their feeding is that they are hardly selective, the will eat anything plant-based such as lettuce leaves, cassava leaves, cassava tubers, pawpaw leaves, okra leaves, kola leaves, cucumber, banana, cocoyam, potatoes, etc. Household feed wastes are also recommended such as leftover rice, beans, yams, etc. But note that whatever is served as feed to the snails must not contain salt. Young snails however prefer tender leaves, and they usually consume twice the amount of feed the mature snails consume. On the other hand, mature snails prefer fallen leaves and rotten fruit.
To save cost, instead of buying fresh fruits, you can visit the market places and collect rejected food items from vendors or waste dumps. In doing this however, do not collect rotting food materials as they are breeding ground for bacteria harmful to the snails. In the case that the soil is not rich in calcium and magnesium contents, supplements should be used as these minerals among others are required by the snail for optimal growth and performance.
SELECTING BREED STOCK: Snails are hermaphrodites, meaning they possess both male and female reproductive organs. So you really do not have to worry about which sex to buy. They all lay eggs after mating on their own. The best time to get breeding stock is the beginning of the wet season, this is because snails start to breed at this time. It is best to pick snails that sexually mature, about 100-130grams in weight with strong shells as breeding stock.
Breeding stock should be selected based on the following criteria:
- Fecunditye. the expected number of eggs the snail can lay. This is gotten from data of previous seasons.
- Hatchability which refers to percentage of eggs likely to hatch from the total number of eggs laid.
- Establishment rate which is the percentage number of snails likely to survive after hatching.
With the above data, the farmer is assured of bountiful harvest from his snail farm.
TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT REQUIRED: There are several tools required for use on a snail farm. The first set of tools are the customary gardening tools such as hoes, cutlasses, rakes, brooms, etc. However, other tools are required on the farm some of which are listed below:
- Measuring tapes
- Weighing scale for weighing snails
- Watering can for keeping the soil moist.
- Hand trowels for loosening the soil.
- Notebook for keeping records.
FARM MANAGEMENT: To keep the farm thriving, several measures must be taken on a daily basis:
- Timely feeding: The snails should be feed after sunset as this is the time they are most active. The food should not contain rotten materials or mold as well as not be stale. All leftovers should be removed the next morning to avoid breeding of bacteria.
- House maintenance: The pens must be cleaned frequently; the wire meshes must also be checked for breakage. All breakages should be duly repaired to avoid pest and predator attacks or escaping of the snails.
- Soil maintenance: The soil in the pen must be kept moist and loose at all times. It should be changed within a three-month interval and fresh poultry dropping should never be added to it. Humus can be added to the soil from time to time to enrich it with nutrients needed by the snails for optimal growth.
- Records: Proper records should be kept on a daily basis as these records will be referred to during the breeding period.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF SNAIL CONSUMPTION
As our population becomes more and more aware and interested in healthy living, snail meat has become one of the choicest foods in this part of the world. The reason being that snail meat is very high in protein content and low in fat and cholesterol content when compared to other sources of animal protein like beef and pork. Snails also contain most of the essential amino acids needed by the human body and their by-products are also very useful in the curing of several diseases. Snail meat is high in magnesium, choline, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids.
BY-PRODUCTS OF SNAILS
Every part of the snails’ body including its shell has economic importance.
- The shell can be used as ornaments, beads or decorations. It can also be used in traditional medicine.
- The snail slime, a mucous-like liquid secreted from the snail can be used in treating burns, cosmetics and tradomedical care.
ADVANTAGES OF SNAIL FARMING
The following are the advantages of snail farming:
- They are environment friendly. Asides the fact that they do not cause pollution, they also help fertilize with their waste materials as well as help to loosen the soil.
- They are not capital or labor intensive.
- The meat is a source of protein.
- The by-products can be used for several purposes.
DISADVANTAGES OF SNAIL FARMING
The following are the disadvantages of snail farming:
- They are very choosy climate wise.
- They have a very slow growth rate.
- They are susceptible to pest and predator action.
- They can become pests if not properly managed.
PROFITABILITY OF THE BUSINESS
As stated earlier, snail meat is gradually becoming a household name in this part of the world majorly because of its nutritional value and its palatability. Several delicacies can be prepared from snail meat thus making it widely acceptable. Another economic advantage to the farmer is that the snails have an off season, if he takes advantage of this, he gets to make more profit in the dry season.
Several businesses patronize the snail farmer, some of them include market women, restaurants, bars, hotels, families, etc. The farmer can take advantage of this to gain substantial profit even though the growth rate of the snail is quite slow, about 10 months to a year.
Ultimately, the snail business requires patience and diligence, but with time, especially once the first set of snails reach maturity, the farmer begins to enjoy great dividends.
TO GET YOUR SNAIL FARMING BUSINESS PLAN IN NIGERIA / FEASIBILITY STUDY, PAY N10,000 TO:
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