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Agrodok 47

Snail Farming
Production, processing and marketing

Dr J.R. Cobbinah Adri Vink Ben Onwuka

This publication is sponsored by: ICCO

© Agromisa Foundation, Wageningen, 2008. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form, by print, photocopy, microfilm or any other means, without written permission from the publisher. First edition: 2008 Authors: Dr J.R. Cobbinah, Adri Vink, Ben Onwuka Illustrator: Barbera Oranje Design: Eva Kok Translation: Catharina de Kat-Reynen Printed by: Digigrafi, Wageningen, the Netherlands ISBN Agromisa: 978-90-8573-108-5 ISBN CTA: 978-92-9081-398-9

There is no reliable documentation on when and where humans started consuming snails as a food supplement. In many places where snails occur, especially in tropical and sub-tropical areas like West and East Africa, natives gather snails, eat them and sell the surplus as a source of income. This booklet aims to provide ideas to farmers who would like to produce snails on a small scale for consumption or marketing. It is not primarily intended for entrepreneurs wishing to engage in large-scale snail farming for the export market. Attention is focused here on three major species, Achatina achatina, Achatina fulica and Archachatina marginata, that are common in tropical areas, especially in Africa. Limiting factors to be considered for effective snail farming are discussed so that farmers do not start breeding snails without considering the advantages and constraints. Incentive for the production of this booklet came from frequent requests for an Agrodok on snail farming received in returned Agrodok questionnaires. A great deal of basic information was provided by Dr Joseph R. Cobbinah's practical guide on Snail Farming in West Africa. This was supplemented by literature and internet research, as well as through contacts with African experts on the subject. Agromisa, August 2008



1 2 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Introduction 6

Suitable species 10 Biology of snails 10 Suitable tropical snail species for farming 12 Achatina achatina 14 Achatina fulica 16 Archachatina marginata 19 Climatic and environmental requirements and restrictions for raising snails 21 Cultural and religious restrictions on handling and eating snails 22 Choosing a site General considerations Temperature and humidity Wind speed and direction Soil characteristics Constructing a snailery Choosing a system: the options Car tyres, oil drums Hutch boxes Trench pens Mini-paddock pens Free-range pens Food and feeding Introduction Types of snail food Recommendations on natural feed Recommendations on formulated feed Feeding and growth 23 23 23 24 25 27 27 28 29 30 33 35 39 39 39 41 43 45

3 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 4 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 5 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5


Snail Farming

6 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 7 7.1 7.2 7.3 8 8.1 8.2 9 9.1 9.2

Breeding and management Selecting breeding stock Nursery Rearing density Seasonal and daily management Snail farming tools and equipment Predators, parasites and diseases Predators Parasites Diseases Processing and consumption of snail meat Processing Consumption Markets Local markets Export markets

47 47 48 50 50 53 54 54 56 57 58 58 60 63 63 66 68 71 74 76 77

Appendix 1: Planning a snail farming venture - 5 steps Appendix 2: Costs of constructing snaileries Further reading Useful addresses Glossary





Snail meat has been consumed by humans worldwide since prehistoric times. It is high in protein (12-16%) and iron (45-50 mg/kg), 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. Edible snails also play an important role in folk medicine. In Ghana, the bluish liquid obtained from the shell when the meat has...
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