Snail Farming Manual

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Agrodok 47, Snail Farming,Production processing and marketing. Dr J R Cobbinah, Ben Onwuka, 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 pro . duce 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 dis . cussed so that farmers do not start breeding snails without considering. the advantages and constraints , Incentive for the production of this booklet came from frequent re . quests 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, Foreword 3,1 Introduction 6,2 Suitable species 10.
2 1 Biology of snails 10, 2 2 Suitable tropical snail species for farming 12. 2 3 Achatina achatina 14,2 4 Achatina fulica 16,2 5 Archachatina marginata 19. 2 6 Climatic and environmental requirements and restrictions. for raising snails 21, 2 7 Cultural and religious restrictions on handling and eating. snails 22,3 Choosing a site 23,3 1 General considerations 23. 3 2 Temperature and humidity 23,3 3 Wind speed and direction 24.
3 4 Soil characteristics 25,4 Constructing a snailery 27. 4 1 Choosing a system the options 27,4 2 Car tyres oil drums 28. 4 3 Hutch boxes 29,4 4 Trench pens 30,4 5 Mini paddock pens 33. 4 6 Free range pens 35,5 Food and feeding 39,5 1 Introduction 39. 5 2 Types of snail food 39,5 3 Recommendations on natural feed 41.
5 4 Recommendations on formulated feed 43,5 5 Feeding and growth 45. 4 Snail Farming, 6 Breeding and management 47,6 1 Selecting breeding stock 47. 6 2 Nursery 48,6 3 Rearing density 50,6 4 Seasonal and daily management 50. 6 5 Snail farming tools and equipment 53,7 Predators parasites and diseases 54. 7 1 Predators 54,7 2 Parasites 56,7 3 Diseases 57,8 Processing and consumption of snail meat 58.
8 1 Processing 58,8 2 Consumption 60,9 Markets 63,9 1 Local markets 63. 9 2 Export markets 66, Appendix 1 Planning a snail farming venture 5 steps 68. Appendix 2 Costs of constructing snaileries 71,Further reading 74. Useful addresses 76,Glossary 77, Contents 5, 1 Introduction. 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 re . cent 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 been re . moved is believed to be good for infant development The high iron. content of the meat is considered important in treating anaemia In the. past it was recommended for combating ulcers and asthma At the. Imperial Court in Rome snail meat was thought to contain aphrodi . siac properties and was often served to visiting dignitaries in the late. In West Africa snail meat has traditionally been a major ingredient in. the diet of people living in the high forest belt the forested area other. than the savannah forest In C te d Ivoire for example an estimated. 7 9 million kg are eaten annually In Ghana it is clear that demand cur . rently outstrips supply , International trade in snails is flourishing in Europe and North Amer .
ica However in spite of the considerable foreign and local demand . commercial snail farms such as those in Europe South East Asia and. the Americas hardly exist in Africa In Ghana Nigeria and C te. d Ivoire where snail meat is particularly popular snails are gathered. from the forest during the wet season In recent years however wild. snail populations have declined considerably primarily because of the. impact of such human activities as deforestation pesticide use slash . and burn agriculture spontaneous bush fires and the collection of. immature snails It is therefore important to encourage snail farming. heliculture in order to conserve this important resource . 6 Snail Farming, Advantages of snail farming,Environment. Snails are environment friendly because unlike poultry or pigs nei . ther the snail nor its droppings smell offensively Snails can also be. reared in the backyard , Capital technical labour and financial inputs in simple snail farming. are relatively low compared to those in other types of livestock farm . ing poultry pigs goats sheep cattle ,Snail meat, 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 snail 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 . Cultural restrictions, 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 consum . able meat makes up only 40 maximum of the snail s total live. weight Consequently snail farming is not a way to make money. Introduction 7, 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 and horticulture . For these reasons it must be emphasised that snail farming should be. seen as only one component in a diversified farming venture How . ever with patience good management and careful integration into. existing farming activities snail farming can provide substantial. longer term rewards ,Planning a snail farming venture. Agromisa s AgroBrief No 3 Snail Farming M Leeflang 2005 pro . vides useful guidelines for anyone considering snail farming see also. Appendix 1 ,A sequence of five steps is suggested . 1 Plan market production organisation ,2 Pilot production and sales.
3 Go or no go decision, 4 Investment in facilities and know how cages pens finance knowl . 5 Upscaling logistics quality financial control ,Prescriptions. The following chapters present prescriptions for the actual farming of. snails e g suitable snail species environment housing stock feed. and health , Caution Before embarking on snail farming make sure you have a. market This may seem self evident 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 a serious agricultural pest Without any natural ene . 8 Snail Farming, mies they end up destroying a wide range of agricultural and or horti . cultural crops and causing considerable economic damage Achatina. fulica has a particularly poor reputation in this respect . Giant African snails are considered a delicacy by people accustomed. to consuming them whereas other people even within the same coun . try 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. Introduction 9, 2 Suitable species,2 1 Biology of snails.
Snails belong to a group of invertebrate animals known as molluscs . Most molluscs carry a shell Other members of this group include. slugs mussels squid and cuttlefish , This Agrodok concentrates on the farming potential of the giant Afri . can land snails GALS more specifically the species Achatina achat . ina Achatina fulica and Archachatina marginata These belong to the. family Achatinidae a diverse group of large pulmonate land snails . originally from western eastern and southern Africa with long slen . der shells Their size ranges from 3 cm to 25 cm The 14 genera are . Achatina Archachatina Atopochochlis Bequeartina Burtoa Col . umna Callistpepla Lignus Limicollaria Limicolariopsis Lissachat . ina Metachatina Periderriopsis and Pseudachati They mostly live in. jungles in tropical countries but some may live in grassland They. primarily feed on fruits and leaves They are easy to find and not diffi . cult to rear They lay several batches of eggs each year Generally . they are quite easy to care for being able to put up with a range of. conditions , Essentially a snail consists of two parts the body and the shell The. body is divided into three parts the head the foot and the visceral. mass The head is not well demarcated and carries two pairs of retract . able tentacles One pair of tentacles is far longer than the other and. contains the eyes in the knobbed end The long muscular foot occu . pies almost the entire ventral surface and like the head is not clearly. demarcated from the rest of the body A shallow longitudinal groove. runs along the centre of the foot The hump shaped visceral mass is. housed in the shell above the foot It contains the digestive reproduc . tive and respiratory organs , The skin over the visceral hump secretes a large calcareous shell 98 . of the shell is made up of calcium carbonate In most species the shell. 10 Snail Farming, accounts for about a third of the body weight It is the snail s protec . tive casing Whenever danger threatens the snail withdraws its body. into the shell , Figure 1 The main anatomical features of a typical snail.
Although snails are hermaphrodites i e they have male and female. parts in most species the individuals mate with each other before lay . Suitable species 11, 2 2 Suitable tropical snail species for farming. A list of edible snail species of African origin is provided below . Europe and North America have over 20 edible species of which the. most popular are petit gris or the small grey snail Helix aspersa the. Burgundy snail H pomatia and escargot turc or the snail of Turkey . H lucorum Snail meat of these species is known as escargot in. France snail meat of GALS is sometimes exported from Africa and. sold as escargot achatine , The most popular edible snails in West Africa are the giant snail . Achatina achatina and the big black Archachatina marginata Local. names are given in the list below Most studies on snails in West Af . rica have concentrated on these two species and on the garden snail . Achatina fulica In Ghana Achatina achatina is considered the most. prized species for eating followed by Archachatina marginata and. then Achatina fulica ,Edible snail species of African origin. Achatina achatina Common name giant snail tiger snail Ghana . Local names corresponding language within parentheses . Gambia honuldu, Sierra Leone konk, Liberia dain Nano drainn Gio . Ghana abobo Ewe elonkoe Nzima krekete Hausa , nwapa Akan wa Ga weJle Dagarti .
Nigeria katantawa Hausa ilako isan Yoruba , East Africa konokono Swahili . Achatina fulica Common name garden snail foolish snail some . times also called the giant African snail , Ghana nwa Akan . Northern tribes of Ghana Burkina Faso Togo Nigeria . Nigeria eesan or ipere Yoruba , Kenya ekhumuniu Luhya kamniyo Luo . East Africa konokono Swahili ,12 Snail Farming, Archachatina marginata Common name big black snail giant Afri . can land snail, Liberia proli Kepelle , Ghana pobere Akan .
Nigeria igbun Yoruba ejuna Ibo , Other edible species exist but they are of minor local importance . The local name usually refers to all edible snail species in the country . Figure 2 shows the distribution in Africa of the three species on. which this booklet concentrates Achatina achatina Archachatina. marginata as well as the reputed original source area of Achatina. fulica in East Africa , Figure 2 Approximate original distribution of the 3 GALS species. discussed in this Agrodok, Suitable species 13, To avoid confusion this Agrodok refers to the three snail species discussed by. their scientific Latin name ,2 3 Achatina achatina. Achatina achatina giant snail tiger snail a widely distributed spe . cies in West Africa particularly in Benin C te d Ivoire Ghana Libe . ria Nigeria Sierra Leone and Togo can be considered a good candi . date for snail farming in most areas of West Africa although it re . quires higher humidity than the other two species and needs a longer. growing time to reach sexual maturity ,Description.
Snail Farming 8 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 and horticulture For these reasons it must be emphasised that snail farming should be seen as only one component in a diversified farming venture How

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