By Mercy Omoike
Lagos, Aug. 14, 2020 A local snail farmer, Mr Sunday Ido has harped on the need for snail farmers to increase their cultivation capacity to boost local snail production.
Ido, an agriculture entrepreneur said made the call in an interview with journalists on Thursday in Lagos.
The farmer said the inconsistent rainy season had negatively impacted on snail productivity this year as snail reproduction was now dependent on cultivation alone.
“The inconsistent rainy season has affected the availability of snails this season. Wild snails are currently very scarce and very expensive.
“The rain has affected even snail farmers because we usually get snails from the wild this period to augment the ones we rear in our farms because our capacity is not as large as we expect it to be.
“At the moment, we have not been able to boost snail reproduction in local farms, the only way to make available more snails in the market is farmers to increase their cultivation capacity.
“What we have noticed is that of the persons that go into snail farming always go into it at a subsistent level and are most times unable to increase their capacity.
“I know of a snail farm for the first time that has started business with a 10,000 capacity snail farm for cultivation. We need more of this to boost snail productivity in the country,” he said.
Ido said if there were more large-scale snail farms, increased productivity would no longer be a problem.
He said that until more people ventured into snail farming business, snail availability could not be based on sourcing it from the wild.
He called for an increase in the number of snail farmers as against the increasing number of snail vendors.
“People who source snails from the wild and bushes do not get sizeable snails this period because of the epileptic rainy season.
“Most snails you get to buy in the market now are gotten from the few snail farmers available to meet the demand for sizeable snail has become an issue.
“Most people advertising snail sales online are actually not snail farmers but snail vendors, so we need more snail farmers than vendors.
“The solution to increased productivity of snails in the country is having more people going into its cultivation.
“Until we get to that level where we have people that are dedicated to strictly cultivating breeding snails, we may not be able to get it right in improved productivity,” Ido said.
According to him, to get a 100 kg of dried snails, you need about 2,000 live snails, which most local farmers cannot boast of cultivating in a short period.
“A farmer cannot sell his point-of-lay snail (breeder snails) and expect to get good productivity during harvest period.
“Specialisation is also important in snail breeding just like poultry, to help boost snail reproduction in the sector,” he said.