Advantages And Disadvantages Of Snail Farming
Advantages of snails farming
Snails are environment-friendly, because, unlike poultry or pigs, neither the snail nor its droppings smell offensively. Snails can also be reared in the backyard. Also, snails manure improve the organic content of the soil.
Capital, technical, labor and financial inputs in simple snail farming are relatively low compared to those in other types of livestock farming (poultry, pigs, goats, sheep, cattle).
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.
Disadvantages of snails farming
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 rhythm throughout the year.
Snail meat is considered a delicacy by some, whereas others will not even touch it for religious or cultural reasons.
Snails are relatively slow-growing animals. Furthermore the consumable meat makes up only 40% (maximum!) of the snail’s total live weight. Consequently snail farming is not a way to make money quickly!
Snails as a pest
Snails that have escaped from a farm, or been dumped by a farmer, may quickly develop into a serious pest in agriculture.
For these reasons it must be emphasized that snail farming should be seen as only one component in a diversified farming venture. But there are many examples of cases in which giant African land snails (GALS) were introduced to other parts of the world for farming, but were eventually dumped (or allowed to escape) into the wild for lack of a market. Once the snails have been introduced, dumped or allowed to escape, they develop into agricultural pests. Without any natural elements, they end up destroying a wide range of agricultural crop and causing considerable economic damage.
Achatina fulica (city girl in local language) has a particularly poor reputation in this respect. The giant African snails/forest snails are considered a delicacy by people accustomed to consuming them, whereas other people, even within the same country, will not even touch, let alone eat them. For that reason, don’t start farming snails unless you are absolutely sure someone will buy or eat them.
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