How to Start Snail Farming in Cameroon: Small Business Ideas. Cost of Starting A Snail Farming Business in Cameroon
Snail farming in Cameroon is one of the most lucrative agricultural business ideas for young entrepreneurs in Cameroon. Snail farming is a practical and viable business venture that is yet to be fully explored in Cameroon and the rest of Africa.
Snail farming may not be the first thing that jumps to mind when thinking of profitable businesses to start in Cameroon. This post will open your eyes to the amount of hidden wealth that can be realized by creating a snail farming business in Cameroon.
Why Snail Farming in Cameroon?
The market opportunity for snail farming in Cameroon and Africa is huge but grossly underrated. Snails are a huge part of the diet in many parts of Africa, although they are not always affordable and available all year round. If you rear snail in commercial quantity, hotels and fast-food restaurants will be your regular customers.
In Cameroon, the prices of raw, matured snails go from 200 FCFA to 1000 FCFA depending on the size. However, Cameroon's annual demand for snails is about 4 million kgs annually. The international trade in snails is flourishing in North America and Europe. The United States of America imports more than $5 million worth of snails annually from worldwide, including Cameroon.
For many years now, snails handpicked from the farm or bush has been the only way to get snails to the market and dinner table.
Currently, the demand for snail is higher than the supplies, an indication that the market potential of snail is inexhaustible, locally and internationally. Starting small and large-scale snail farming businesses is the only way to fill up the spaces between the demand for snails and its supply in Africa.
Also Read: How to Start a Small Business in Cameroon.
How to Start Snail Farming in Cameroon: Small Business Ideas
Below are the five basic steps you need to follow to start a profitable snail farming business in Cameroon:
Step 1: Decide on which species of snail to farm.
When creating a snail farm, you'll have to use a single species of snail. Research has shown that snail species such as Achatina Achatina are the best for warm climate regions like Africa.
Step 2: Set up your farmland for housing.
Your snail housing must have enough space for your snails to graze freely. Overcrowding your snailery impedes the development of snails and, therefore, should be avoided. A well-spaced snail housing reduces the risk of disease outbreaks caused by overcrowding.
Snails are good at escaping from where they are kept, so you should construct escape-proof housing. You can use a pen house that will be spacious and accessible with a soil depth of 11 inches and trees around it.
Step 3: Buy your snails for the Snail Farm Business.
If you want to start a snail farm, you'll need to get snails. After setting-up proper housing and farmland for the snails, it's time to buy some fresh quality snails from the market or any farm.
It is always best to examine the snails before you buy them so that you know they are healthy.
When you first start your snail farm, you'll want to get healthy, fully grown snails that will lay eggs and help populate your farm. Look at the shell of the snail. If there is a lip, they are a fully grown snail.
Also Read: How To Start a Poultry Farm Business In Cameroon.
Step 4: Feed and rear the snails
Snails are vegetarians and can be fed with various foods such as cabbage, cucumber, mango, banana, eggplant, pear, tomato and paw-paw, cassava, okra leaves or lettuce. However, you can also feed snails with pineapple, banana or paw-paw.
Mating and laying eggs are a vital part of snail farming. Typically, mating occurs during spring and summer. As hermaphrodites, snails can fertilize each other as soon as they mature enough. For the egg-laying to go over smoothly, you should use high-quality soil with the right temperature and humidity.
Step 5: Harvest and sell the snails for Profit (Make money)
It is not economically wise to harvest your snails before it's maturity; it has to be mature before harvesting. Do not harvest all the matured snails at once to sell in the market. It is essential to keep a few for breeding and serve as base stock for your snail farm.
Snail has good market demand and price. You can quickly sell the snails in the local market. The snail meat consumption rate is growing very fast around the globe. So, exporting to the international market can make you more money.
Cost of Starting A Snail Farming Business in Cameroon
The mandatory expenses you need to account for if you are wondering how to set up a snail farm include: housing, buying fresh snails, feeding, handling and processing, marketing, and transportation.
You can start the business with 100,000 FCFA or 250,000 FCFA, depending on how large you want your snail farm to be. Asides from the amount of your investment, it is possible to produce about 900,000 snails now worth more than 10,000,000 FCFA twice a year.
This is made possible because of the availability of very highly prolific Achatina Achatina species of snails, which lay 250 – 500 in one batch two-three times a year. If you produce 50,000 snails that sell for 250 FCFA each, which is 250 FCFA X 50,000, you will be making 12,500,000 FCFA quarterly.
For beginners, creating a snail farming business plan is a crucial step to be accomplished before starting. This will give you a deep understanding of everything that needs to be done.
In terms of cost and time, snail farming is a low-risk business. Snail farming requires tiny startup and operating costs, unlike many other livestock businesses. You can even set up your snail farm in the backyard of your house to save cost on the purchase of farmland.
The best time to set up a snail farm is in the rainy season, especially from June to September, because that is the time snails typically start to breed. You should also note that prices of snails multiply during scarcity between February and December, which is the dry season.