Snail meat has been consumed by humans worldwide since prehistoric times. It is high in protein and iron,low in fat,and contains almost all the amino acids needed by humans. A recent study, has also shown that the glandular substances in edible snail meat cause agglutination of certain bacteria,which could be of value in fighting a variety of ailments,including whooping cough.
The advantages associated with snail farming are many. To the environment ,snails are environmental friendly ,because,unlike poultry or pigs,neither the snail nor its droppings smell offensively. Snails can also be reared in the backyard with no huge space required. In terms of capital investment,the amount of capital,technical labour,and financial inputs in simple snail farming are relatively low compared to those in other types of livestock farming.
As already said snail meat is a good source of protein. It is rich in iron and calcium,but low in fat and cholesterol compared to other protein sources like poultry and pigs. With all these disadvantages though,there are limitations that are preventing many people to see snail farming as an alternative form of making a living. The first limitation is culture; Snail meat is considered a delicacy by some,whereas others will not even touch it for religious or cultural reasons. Secondly snails are relatively slow growing animals. Furthermore the consumable meat makes up only 40% of the snail’s total live weight.
Also without expensive artificial means of climate control,snail farming is restricted to the humid tropical forest zone,which offers a constant temperature ,high relative humidity,preferably no dry season,and a fairly constant day/night throughout the year.
In spite of the above limitations,snail farming is thriving locally and internationally. Kenyans are coming to the realization that they have missed z delicacy which they so underrated. As a farmer now is the time to start farming snails as a side hassle which eventually will mature into a full time calling.
For those interested in this venture,Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology is offering a three day free training and a stock of fifteen snails. When mature the institution buys back from the farmer handsomely so it is a win for both parties.