My name is Fasakin Aduragbemi Victor, Agribusiness Development Consultant. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Human Kinetics and Services. I hail from Igbara-odo, Ekiti-state, Nigeria. I will be 25 in April this year.
I started farming at a young age. During my secondary school days we are alloted some portions of land to farm maize by our agriculture teacher. I would go in search of goat manure so as to scare the goats away from the crops, not knowing that in adding the manure to the plant the growth of the plant was boosted. My maize plant was always the best.
During rainfall I would find snails in my neighborhood, simply saying to myself that I would love to study this creature. This spurred my interest and over time I developed a passion for agriculture.
Agriculture is a sector of the economy that has great capacity to absorb our teeming unemployed youth and women. It is a sector of natural wealth when it is adequately harnessed and processed.
In 2009 I decided to get trained in snail farming. I started with just 24 snails (Archantina marginata) and began rearing them inside tyres. I grew the 24 snails to 1,500 snails within one year and I made quite a little fortune.
The need to empower rural youth and women with these skills became so obvious to me. The traditional belief that farming in rural areas is done to bind the wounds within the family has tied many destinies to the hoe. Over the years, these concepts have been promoted by many people, resulting in not getting the required knowledge to see the untapped potential and how much they could contribute to the nation’s GDP.
The desire to give back to humanity became an imperative. In 2015, my sense of social transformation was tested when I embarked on a community change project in the course of my National Youth Service (NYSC), Anambra-State. The project was designed to expose rural youth and women to the fortune in agriculture beyond their family farm.
With the help of Thai Agro-Allied Industries Ltd and Diamond Bank, 150 youth and women of Ihiala Local Government Area in Anambra-state were trained in vegetable farming (cucumber and the watermelon) and snail farming. They were also introduced to improved hybrid seeds, manuals and DVDs imported from Thailand that served as aids to point them in the right direction when they encountered any difficulties.
A modern snail farm stocked with 150 breeding stock (laying snails) was donated to the community. For this project I won the prestigious NYSC state honours award, to God be the glory.
Snails are a food of high nutritive value with a shell mainly composed of calcium carbonate. When processed the shells serve as a good ingredient for animal feed production and they can be used to make earrings, necklaces and ceramics. Among small livestock, snails stand out for their great potential to supply animal protein and are widely consumed throughout the world.
The protein content of snail meat is between 15.76%-18.26%, a proportion that is comparable with the 16.9% in mutton, 18.6% in duck and 20.5% in chicken. Snail meat is high in iron and possesses unsaturated fat and low cholesterol levels, making it a good substitute for beef, fish and eggs, as well as an antidote for weight-related diseases such as hypertension and obesity.
The fat content of snails is between 0.96-2.5%, a relatively low proportion compared to conventional livestock sources such as chicken egg (9.6%), mutton (21.4%) and duck (23.0%). People eat the snail meat because it has a low calorie count when compared to an equal amount of butter, margarine, beef or fish.
Snail meat contains all the essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals and macro-nutrients needed for human nutrition, including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and sodium.
Daily routines in snail farming are easier and less laborious than those of animal farming. Every part of the snails is useful and they feed on anything a human being consumes (except salt).
I intend to use USD $5,000 to acquire 250 breeding stock (Archantina marginata) snails, build additional snail pens/breeding boxes with enough space for expansion, buy fattener, feed, water troughs and feeding troughs, and acquire training materials and the needed items in the farm as well marketing and promotion.
The farm will start with 250 breeding stock and will be expected to last for 7-9 months using fattener before being disposed of.
Snail in the species marginata will lay an average of 3-14 eggs per clutch 2-4 times in a 12-month period. The incubated eggs are expected to hatch after one month. There will be a need for expansion after the 7th month.
Assuming 20% mortality, the 250 breeding stocked will produce 200 snails culled for market. In addition, 8,000 eggs laid will go to produce about 7,400 adult snails in 12 months, which will then be culled for market.
Snails are expensive in Nigeria and the price varies depending on the season. One table snail can go for N800 in the dry season. One snail costs N500 during the rainy season. Seven thousand and four hundred adults snails times N500 equals millions of naira in just one year.
Furthermore, the farm will be a center to empower youths and women. Snail farming is the best self-employment for youth and women because it is a good source of income, and the capital for setting up a snailery is relatively low compared to other livestock.
Only a relatively small land space is required to raise thousands of snails when they are intensively managed. They are very scarce in the market and require little effort to raise them to maturity. These traits make snail farming viable and lucrative and what makes it even more unique is that there is not much need for vaccination or drugs administration.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Victor Aduragbemi (Ekiti, Nigeria) – adurasakin(at)gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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