Snail farming is also known as heliciculture. It is a type of farming that involves rearing snails for their meat or slime. Another byproduct of snails that is in high demand is their droppings. You can sell snail droppings as green manure.
Snail farming has become one of the most lucrative businesses in Nigeria because of the immense opportunities available. This animal’s meat is used in the preparation of several local and continental dishes. The eggs from snails are also used in propagation to raise new snail farms. One question that begs an answer is, “what are the problems of snail farming in Nigeria?”
Problems of Snail Farming in Nigeria
Several challenges exist in snail farming, as with other kinds of farming within and outside Nigeria. A clear knowledge of these challenges enables the farmer to prepare against them by finding the necessary solutions. That being said, here are the most common problems of snail farming in Nigeria:
1. Climate and weather conditions
Climate and weather play a major role in snail farming. This is because humidity and temperature conditions are key to the survival of snails. Snails are very sensitive creatures and prefer to stay in cool, wet, and moist habitats, regardless of their specie. As a result, snails are quite seasonal as you only see them moving around freely during the rainy season.
Reduced levels of humidity and high temperatures can lead to snail mortality. This is why you hardly find them around in the dry season. Most parts of Nigeria have distinct wet and dry seasons. As such, there is a dearth of snails during the dry season. Snail farmers have to source for means to wet their farms regularly to ensure that the soil is consistently wet for their snails to thrive.
This is the decrease in forest areas resulting from urbanization, mining activities, and agriculture. Deforestation has become more popular all over the world between 1960 and now largely because of urbanization. While our world is looking more beautiful because of the construction of eye-popping infrastructure, we are losing trees consistently.
Deforestation has several negative effects on our world. One such effect is adversely affecting snail farming. As we cut down trees to create space for buildings and other infrastructure or agriculture, we are losing tree cover. This poses a major threat to the existence of snails as they are more exposed to danger. Also, the absence of tree cover means that there is direct exposure to sunlight and less moisture in the soil for the snails to thrive.
Snail farmers need to invest in growing trees around their farms to provide sufficient cover for their animals. If they cannot plant trees, they can build sheds that will reduce the evaporation of moisture from the soil where they rear their snails.
3. Poor construction of snail pens
Snail farmers should construct snail pens in line with laid down requirements. These requirements make sufficient provision for the survival of snails. The problem is that most snail farmers don’t have sufficient knowledge about snail farming and snail pen construction before venturing into the business. Because of this, they end up constructing defective snail pens that have adverse effects on their animals.
Another reason for the poor construction of snail pens is the lack of access to the required materials. Most snail farmers in this part of the world are into snail farming at a subsistence level. They don’t have the funds required to gather the materials they need to build the right type of snail pens. Poor construction exposes snails to several dangers, especially diseases, parasites, and predators.
Snail farmers should ensure that they carry out proper research before constructing snail pens. They should also source for funds before diving headlong into the business. Snail farmers should ensure the hygiene of their pens by clearing out empty shells and waste feed. The snails should also be split by size into different pens to eliminate the possibility of cannibalism.
Snails are small, defenseless creatures. While they are very intelligent, they don’t have sufficient ability to maneuver themselves from the grasp of predators. Even though they have shells, their shells are not strong enough to withstand certain types of impact. This means that they are easy prey for predators.
There are different types of snail predators including lizards, rats, and even men. Since snails are defenseless and very slow, the farmer has the extra responsibility of protecting his animals from predators. They must ensure that they construct proper pens and provide sufficient protection against predators.
5. Availability of capital
Capital is important for any business to thrive. Truth be told, you don’t need a fortune to establish or run a snail farming business. Regardless, you still need funds to get the business on its feet as you have to construct your snail pens, purchase snail eggs, buy snail feed, and so on.
Most Nigerian snail farmers don’t have access to sufficient capital to establish and run their snail businesses. As such, they can only run on subsistent levels to sustain their families and make little sales. This will never help their snail businesses to grow.
The government needs to provide funds for such farmers in form of grants and loans. This way, snail farmers can have access to more funds at their disposal and grow their businesses into empires.
6. Diseases and infections
While snails can be quite resilient, these animals still experience sickness due to several reasons. Most of the diseases and infections that occur on snail farms result from negligence, poor handling, poor hygiene, and ignorance.
One parasite that affects snails the most in this part of the world is schistosomiasis. We cannot see this parasite with our naked eyes, however, it affects snails adversely by reducing their ability to eat and making them lose weight. Other diseases that snails experience include intestine dysfunction and weight loss.
Famers should be sensitized about the hygienic protocol on snail farms. They should also watch out for symptoms of diseases and infections so that they can take prompt action.
There you have the common problems of snail farming in Nigeria. Do you have any questions? Kindly drop them in the comments section below.