Heliculture is the rearing of snails for human consumption, medical and cosmetic purposes.Snail farming is a scarce but successful business in Nigeria. Snail meat is a very good source of protein, fiber,magnesium, vitamin c,iron,calcium, amino acid and a blood giving meal.The slime it produces are used for medical and cosmetic purposes.
You can start snail farming with as little as N1000,it can be done in your backyard or that little corner in your compound, Snail farming is eco-friendly as the snail droppings are a rich source of manure.
If you want to start a snail farming, you should get your snails in villages or rural areas,as they will be cheaper than in urban areas,All you need is a pen or a large container for a start,it should be filled with loamy soil,as it is the best type of soil for snail farming. Let us say you get your snails at N50 per snail,you will get 20 snails at N1000.African giant land snail are the best of specie to rear.
Snails are hermaphrodites which means they have both the male and female reproductive organs,for a snail to lay eggs,they must mate.A snail tends to mate more with species of the same kind,a snail can play male at one time and play female at another time or sometimes it can self-fertilize,which means it mates itself.
Tips for a successful snail farm
Hygiene: Hygiene is one of the important tips,clean your pens or large containers every morning,in order to prevent parasites and pests from attacking the snails,these pests may be Ants,Rats,Termites,Millipedes,etc.
Feeding:You don’t need to spend to feed snails,as their food are paw-paw leaves,okra leaves and other juicy fruits which may be pineapple or paw-paw.Sprinkle the leaves with water,as it increases the moisture content of the leaf.
An African land snail can lay up to 100 eggd at a go,let us say 80 out of 100 hatches successfully, that is 80 snails,the eggs should be hand picked and kept in a moist but not waterlogged soil or a moist cotton.They take up to 6 months-1 year to mature depending on the factors which are soil temperature, humidity, concentration and composition.
Market Target:You can market your snails at hotels,restaurants and homes,who can pay you for your snails for a period of time.
Let us say with 20 snails,15 lays 100 eggs,a day and lay another 100 in 2 weeks, that is 200 eggs in a month and 160 successfully hatches,you have gotten 160 snails in a month and in 6 months,you get 960-1000 snails,in year you will get 1920-200 eggs.This rainy season is the best time to breed snails,so start no matter how small.