climate-smart agriculture

Invest In Snail Farming and Get Huge Returns

Photo credit: Google images

Photo credit:

Snail is called different names in Africa, like — eju, nwa, ìgbín, katantanwa, wɔba, konokono, slak, mulaca. The snail is a small to medium sized ‘mollusc’ that is generally split into three groups which are land snails, sea snails and freshwater snails. Achatina species is a species of land snails that include Arhatina achatina (Tiger Snails), Archatina marginata (Giant African Land Snails) and Achatina fulica (Garden Snail) -which is the smallest of all.

The snails are hermaphrodites, (i.e. they have male and female parts) the individuals mate with each other before laying eggs. They are also coldblooded and can live for several years while growing to 25cm in some species. They have about 90 calories per 100 grams of weight and provide a low calorie source of protein which helps in building and repairing our muscle. They are also good sources of Iron, Vitamin B12, Magnesium, Selenium, and Omega3 -which is really good for the heart. Snails are environmentally friendly, they are most active during the night and they require low capital investment compared to poultry, pigs, goats, sheep, cattle.

Thinking of starting up?

Snail farming business has a very high rate of return and the best time to start up a snail farm is in the rainy season especially from July to October because that is the time snails normally start to breed. You should also note that prices of snails multiply during scarcity between March and December, in the dry season.  

Which is the most lucrative amongst the Achatina species?


Photo credit: Flickr

The Tiger Snails and Giant African Land Snails are the most lucrative amongst the Achatina species because they grow so big and lay more eggs. When thinking of getting a snail to start up with – that is the- initial breeding stock, you can decide to go for sexually mature snails, weighing at least 100-125 grams as recommended by Freeman (2013).

Note that each of this 2 species is capable of laying 100- 500 eggs in a year. This means that if you start a snail farm with 5 snails this year, you will probably get about 75,000 snails in one year! This is actually going by the number of eggs laid by the 5 snails, the percentage of eggs that are likely to hatch out, and the percentage that will survive after hatching.

Where can I get the snails?

You can get many snails from the forest, uncultivated lands and in the market.  They can also be picked up in the day time after a rainfall. Also, they can be found under wet boards and surfaces, piles of leaves and sticks, wet stones, walls, the trunk of trees.

The best time to get them from places other than the market is in the night. Don’t forget they are always active in the night. So, you can clear a little portion of land in the evening during the rainy season and place some fruits after which you leave the place. After about 3 – 4 hours you can go back to pick available snails. This process can be repeated till you get the number you want to start up with. When buying snail eggs from the market ensure it has not been exposed to sunlight, as exposure to sun has a negative effect on the fertility of the eggs.

How do I keep them safe?

When selecting an appropriate site for housing the snails, consider –climate, wind speed and direction, soil characteristics and protection of the snails from diseases and predators.

Photo credit: Flickr

Snails need damp, not wet, environments and they derive most of their water requirements from the soil. They love to dig the soil to lay their eggs.

A soil that supports good growth of cocoyam, tomatoes and leafy vegetables, is suitable for snail farming. Ensure to loosen the soil by tilling.

Snails are good at escaping from where they are kept, so, for a rewarding business venture, you should endeavor, to construct escape proof housing. You can use a pen house that will be spacious and accessible with a soil deep of 10inch, and trees around it. Snails can also be reared in boxes made of suitable substances like wire gauze (net), wood, straw etc.

In other to avoid flies and ants, the removal of leftover food and cleaning should be done appropriately, also endeavor to control predators and secure the pen with nets, wire and nylon mesh. Note that changing of the soil once every 3 months and allowing them to grow to reach their proper size and weight is also essential.

What should I feed them with?

They are vegetarians and can be fed with wide varieties of foods.  You can feed them with – leaves of lettuce, cabbage, cassava, okra and pawpaw – also fruits like cucumber, mango, banana, eggplant, pear, tomato and paw- paw. Banana, paw paw and pineapple peels can also be given to them. Snails can also be feed with leftover food like rice, fufu and pap but salt intake can make them sick or even kill them. So any leftover food you give them, should not contain salt!

Who will buy the snails?

The demand for supply of snail is very important; no one wants to run at a loss. People that will constantly need and demand for  your snails include; restaurants, pepper soup joints ,canteens, stores, supermarkets, event planners and caterers, shopping malls, institutions, hotels, friends and your darling family members. You can have an agreement with this people on when, amount and number of snails that should be supplied.

Snail business will definitely not give you quick money but in the long run you will be happy about your investment that will give huge returns. Now is indeed the time to start!

Article written by Idowu T. Owoeye

Great stuff! A young Agropreneur’s innovation in soil analysis

Source: Google images, Hands Holding a Seedling and Soil ca. 2000

Source: Google images, Hands Holding a Seedling and Soil ca. 2000

We are inspired to repost an innovation by a young agriculturists doing great stuff. We will be featuring something on his soil Analysis and testing. Majority of Farmers in Nigeria still use indigenous methods to determine when to plant crops, type of soil best for planting. With technologies in place for soil analysis and testing detailed information on soil quality, nutrients are made known to farmers for proper decision in managing the farm/garden.

John bosco’s soil analysis and testing interests us in agricultural value chain in Nigeria. We consider this interesting enough to feature on the blog. I would however additionally define soil test and highlight reasons why we do soil analysis to give you a little understanding about soil analysis and testing. Enjoy!
What is soil test?
A soil test is a process by which elements (phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, sulfur, manganese, copper and zinc) are chemically removed from the soil and measured for their “plant available” content within the sample. The quantity of available nutrients in the sample determines the amount of fertilizer that is recommended. A soil test also measures soil pH, humic matter and exchangeable acidity. These analyses indicate whether lime is needed and, if so, how much to apply. (Source
Why Do You Need A Soil Test?
Most soil nutrients are readily found in the soil provided that its pH level is within the 6 to 6.5 range. However, when the pH level rises, many nutrients (like phosphorus, iron, etc.) may become less available. When it drops, they may even reach toxic levels, which can adversely affect the plants. Getting a soil test can help take the guesswork out of fixing any of these nutrient issues. There’s no need to spend money on fertilizers that aren’t necessary. There’s no worry of over fertilizing plants either. With a soil test, you’ll have the means for creating a healthy soil environment that will lead to maximum plant growth.
Read more on “Testing Garden Soil – Why Test Soil in a Garden” here
AgroBosco – Agribusiness and consulting offering and solution
Soil analysis? – Analyse your soil now!
* Don’t just add bags/sachets/bottles of fertilizers to your soil because your friend added same quantity of fertilizer to his/her soil or a literature tells you to do so. It is RISKY!
* Don’t add the same formular/composition of fertilizer on your soil because your friend applied same formular/composition on his/her soil or literature tells you so. It is RISKY!
* Even though a study had been previously done on your soil for nutrient analysis, remember it is your turn to plant on same soil and NUTRIENT DEPLETS.
* You can actually determine the nutrient available in your soil, either the nutrient/element needed in large quantity or less quantity which gives you a CLEAR picture of the amount/quantity of fertilizer needed on your soil and ultimately reduces your cost of fertilizer input.
* You can also determine if the soil is suitable for the production of your crop
* Soil Analysis gives you the answer. DON’T RISK YOUR PROJECT…Analyze your soil today!
Soil Routine Analysis:
* pH
* Particle Size Distribution (Sand Silt, Clay)
* Exchangeable Cations (Ca, Mg, Na, K)
* Exchangeable Acidity (Al+ , H+)
* Effective Cation Exchange Capacity
* Base Saturation
* Total Nitrogen
* Total Organic Carbon
* Available Phosphorus
* Micro-Nutrients (Cu, Zn, Fe, Mn)
Forms of Nitrogen
* Ammonium Nitrogen
* Nitrate Nitrogen
* Nitrite Nitrogen
Total Analysis
* Sample Dissolution (Digestion)
* Phosphate
* Sulphate
Metal Analysis
* Sample Dissolution (Digestion)
* Cu, Zn, Fe, Mn, Pb, Cd, Cr, Ni, Co, K, Na, etc
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How Africa can withstand the growing threat of climate change, North-west Nigeria as a case study

Climate change is one of the biggest challenge man has had to face as it relates to agriculture and environment, although it is felt more in some regions than others. A couple of weeks ago I took a trip of the North-western part of Nigeria, observing natural terrains, topographies and climate effects in drought, erosion, heat waves and desertification. This was my first trip to northern Nigeria, during this trip I observed firsthand the extent to which climate change affects agricultural activities. The journey started from Ilorin through Niger state then arriving at kebbi state. The journey was long but it was worth it exploring Nigeria’s landscape. I was particularly fascinated with the plain landscapes and guinea/sahel forests which is gradually losing its thickness through kebbi and sokoto states and cut the journey at zaria, kaduna state.


water body around the niger region during the dry season

Water body around the niger region during the dry season

One thing common when going through these regions is the vast area of plain land and the approaching extreme temperatures felt in extreme blowing heat (heat waves) and sandstorms. Feeling this extremes firsthand in far kebbi and sokoto states wasnt funny as one who grew up in southern Nigeria. I mostly observed decline in forest resources and the presence of drought prevalent in this region. This situation has made farming in northern Nigeria highly vulnerable to climate effects hence, the need for climate-smart agriculture should be implemented as a trending topic locally and should be discussed more. Agricultural Production activities are more vulnerable to climate change than other sectors in terms of production output, storage and transportation of produce among others.

A while back a farmer friend of mine shared with me of his experience on the farm how he lost all of his farm produce to high solar intensity in Saki Ibadan. He related his experience to the realities involved in climate change, its issues and to practicing agriculture in Nigeria today. As we all know climate change has been a threat to agricultural activities prevalent in northern Nigeria especially as it is mostly dependent on weather conditions. One stark and hurtful reality is the fact that enough investment infrastructures are yet to be built or put in place to support the available resources in the north in physical factors of production in land and labour e.g incentives should be put to encourage the almajiri children in the north who usually roam about begging for alms to get them to the farm.

Climate change pose great threat to the stability and sustainability for sufficient food production in the agricultural sector in Nigeria. To increase food production it is important for Nigeria’s agricultural policy and development plan to give climate change issues serious consideration for agricultural, industrial and commercial activities in Northern Nigeria. In this blogpost I am going to share some of my recommendations in improving agriculture especially in the extreme temperate regions of Northwestern Nigeria

1. Irrigation infrastructures: it is important to note that the north-west is blessed with enough agricultural resources (land, labor) to feed Africa going by the fact that larger percentage of the agricultural land is left plain and unused until the rain comes. One should note that irregular weather patterns play dominant role in agriculture and has direct impacts on soils structure, moisture, fertility and hence productivity. One should understand that irregular rainfall can affect yields negatively if rain fails to come at the critical growing stage for the crop.

Moreso, majority of these farmers are financially incapacitated and have an overwhelming desire for government to support them by helping to construct earth-dams and boreholes for them on their farms and villages.

Bare land found within sahel northern region that could be used with better irrigation infrastructure

 2. Afforestation: deforestation is a situation where forest resources are lost faster than they are replaced and is a major contributor to climate change. In Northwestern Nigeria the primary forest region is the savannah (guinea, sahel) – though unlike the southern region – trees are not able to proliferate in this part of the country because of low amount of water supply due to irregular rainfall season. Supported trees planted here will serve as shade for crops and help alleviate extreme heat providing adaptation for extreme and direct effects of sunshine while also protecting the soil from erosion effects.

Sahel/Guinea Forest region in the north-west

Sahel/Guinea Forest region in the north-west

 3. Indigenous adaptation measures and practices: Adaptation come in form of farming experience – the more experienced farmers are, the more likely they adapt to changes in climate conditions on their farm. These changes in usual method of practicing farming teaches them to diversify. Adapting multiple mixed cropping systems, practicing zero tillage by making ridges, planting cover crops, switching from crops to livestock and from rain fed dry land to irrigation. Access to technical and extension service facilities, credit facilities, encourages farmers to share their experience for other farmers to learn from and influence adaptation positively.

In order words, for development of agriculture in the northwest, government should encourage easy access to farm assets in machineries, improved seed varieties and extension agents, educating farmers providing them with information on technologies and recent adaptation measures. This is usually important for future adaptation and mitigation strategies. The extension service can also help farmers in understanding several variables which are often used in determining the sensitivity of certain crops for optimum productivity. These variables includes; rainfall, potential evaporation, radiation, temperature, humidity, sunshine hours. etc

 4. Assessment and knowledge support: Stakeholders should ensure efforts are put in place to ensure farmers in the northern region continue to practice their trade providing an enabling environment for productive crop production, supporting the farmers while taking critical look at new environmental conditions created by climate change in such areas while ensuring research work reach farmers in the region. More NGOs need to put in more discuss on climate change issues, its adaptation, food security, climate-smart agriculture into their campaigns.

 5.  Capacity building and demonstration: Attention should be catalyzed to focus on funding, advocacy to action to promote resilience to climate change and training of new-entrant farmers on recent technologies and ICTs.

More ways of supporting and relieving climate change impacts on smallholder farmers can be found here “IFDC’s perspective on Alleviating Climate Change – One Farmer at a Time

In conclusion, In line with rainfall pattern of the Nigerian climate, the country has a wetter south and a drier north with vegetation categorized into forest and savannah. The savannah region especially guinea and sudan are the major grains, tubers, grasses, vegetables and cotton growing region, while the tropical evergreen rain forest belt bears timber production, forest development, cassava production and growing of plantations consisting of fruit trees such as citrus, oil-palm, cocoa, rubber among others.

In most scenario impacts of climate change in the Northern part of Nigeria are mostly negative, there is the need for effective and reliable access to information on climate issues with sponsored go-green campaigns, credit and grant facilities in encouraging new-entrant farmers, thereafter combining access to extension which ensures the farmers makes the right decision and protects him reducing the risks involved.