An animal scientist, Dr Abiodun Kehinde, has identified snail farming a veritable means of job creation and wealth generation in the country. Kehinde, the Provost, Federal College of Wildlife, New Bussa, Niger, said this at a three-day workshop on Giant Africa Land Snail, organised by Network on Giant African Land Snail (NETGALS).
The workshop started on Monday at the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, with the theme, ‘Wealth creation, food security, through snail production and research.’
Kehinde emphasised that snail farming required less capital and space compared to poultry and pig farming.
The provost explained that the management practices of its rearing were simple and could be practiced by young and old, and could also be embarked upon as secondary occupation because it required less time to maintain.
He remarked that snail meat was highly priced, contained low fat and cholesterol level, which made it a good antidote for fat-related diseases such as hypertension.
“The meat is rich in calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium; it has been established that its consumption promotes fertility, makes babies at early stage stronger and healthier.
“Its shells are good sources of calcium, could be used to replace bone meal, oyster shell fraction of diet of livestock, without any adverse effects on growth and reproductive performance of the animal.
“Snail farming is a very good business, affordable to start, with high yielding income. I enjoin, especially unemployed youth, to engage in the business, to better their lots,” he said.
Also speaking, the Director of IAR&T, Prof. James Adediran, said the importance of African giant land snail to the development of the nation’s economy had received attention.
“In traditional medicine, snail flesh, haemolymph, are used to prepare concoction for pregnant women.
“Snails are environmentally friendly, could be reared at the backyard because they are noiseless and odourless; success in snail production involves among other things, proper nutrition,” he said.
Adediran, represented by his deputy, Dr Jelili Saka, expressed the hope that the workshop would identify major constraints to snail rearing and proffer possible solutions to encourage participation of people in snail production.
Earlier, the NETGALS President, Dr Oyenike Akinnusi, said NETGALS was an association of snail scientists, researchers and farmers, and an umbrella body for snail research and other interest groups on snail.
She said that snail farming was becoming a major supporting income generating business for farmers and others, who understood the importance and benefits of snail as a rich source of protein and other nutrients.
“The theme is appropriate considering the current rise in the acceptance of snail as a micro-livestock of importance in research and value addition, through improved health, employment and wealth creation,” she said.