Snail Farming in Uganda

Snail farming is profitable which has been introduced into the country recently. It is common knowledge that most farmers hate snails since they are seen as pests but there has been a growing interest due to the fact that snails are used for medical value and as a source of food and income. Snail farming which is also known as heliculture is the rearing of snails for both consumption and industrial use.

There are several types of snails which are categorically divided into two : the African snail and the Asian snail. All these snails are edible and it all depends on the type that you would want to rear. The difference between the African and Asian snails is that the African snails have bigger flesh as compared to the Asian snails which are small. When the snails are well taken care of, they will grow at a faster rate and you will be able to get them to the local market.

snail farming uganda

Benefits Of Snail Farming

  • Snail meat is known to be more nutritious as compared to any other red meat.

  • Snails lay about 100 eggs each time they lay, which is almost 6 times a year. This ensures that you will have a good supply of the snails throughout the year.

  • Snails are used as beauty products.

Starting a Snail Farm in Uganda

Snail farming is like any other business has steps that you need to follow in order to get the required profits from it. I’ve listed a few steps below that you will need to follow in order to start a successful snail farming business in Uganda.

Snail breeds

This is the first thing that you will need to look for if you want to start snail farming in the country. The different snail breeds that can be sold on the market include the white garden snail, Burgundy snail, milk snail and the famous giant African snail.

Location of the snail farm

Snails like living in moist areas where they are not easily dehydrated. Snails when exposed to harsh hot conditions dehydrate and therefore you will need to look for a location which is good for moisture keeping and an environment which is protected from the wind. If possible, you can get to a place that is surrounded by trees.

Not every type of soil is suitable for snail farming as they need to stay in a place where the soil has all the required nutrients for proper snail growing. Avoid getting a place that has soils which are claylike and acidic. The perfect soil for snails is the sand to loam soil which has a low hold capacity for water and with calcium nutrients since the snails drain water from the soil and also lay their eggs in the soil.

Snail house

When constructing the snail house you will need to make it spacious for the snails to move freely. If the house is spacious, the snails will grow without being stunted and there is a low risk of spread of diseases. The house should also be well proofed so that the snails should not escape.

Buy the snails

After making sure that the location is conducive and the soil is perfect for snail farming, then it is time to get the snails. You can buy the snails from already set up in the country or you can collect them from the forests or nearby places around you. The snails that have been picked are better since they can easily adapt to a new environment as compared to the ones obtained from the shops and other farms. You need to only buy or get mature snails because they are the ones that are good when it comes to breeding.

Feeding the snails

One other thing that you should consider is the feeding of the snails. The African snails are known to eat more food as compared to the Asian snails. The food can be bought in snail shops in the country. Snails can feed on vegetables like cabbage leaves, pawpaw leaves, eggplant leaves, okra leaves and yam leaves. They can also eat bananas, tomatoes, pears, cucumbers and many more.

The food given to the snails should be rich in calcium in order to get hard and good shells.

snail farm uganda

Marketing the snails

The market for snails in Uganda is still low because many of the locals see them as pests but due to the many ethnic groups within the country, there are restaurants and hotels that buy the snails and make some international cuisines that are ordered by some locals in the country. Snail meat demand has been on the rise in the country and you can as well sell the shells from the snails on the local market.

Harvesting the snails

Snails take 2 years to mature and only the mature ones are sold on the market. While harvesting the snails, make sure that you leave some of the mature ones so that they continue with the breeding process and one of the ways you can tell that a snail is mature is if you check the shell. The mature snails have harder shells as compared to the young ones.Use boxes, baskets and bowls while harvesting the snails so that they do not get any damage during transportation.

The best time to start snail farming is during the rainy season and it is a low risk business which will earn you a steady income the moment you start harvesting the snails. The start-up capital for snail farming is low ranging from 400, 000shs and a kilogram of snails normally goes for 50,000shs whereas a kilogram of shells goes for 35, 000shs.