Federation of Snail Farmers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (FESMAN) is calling for massive investment in the heliculture industry, pointing out that it will boost food security and grow the economy.
Already, Ekiti State Government is picking up the challenge. Governor Kayode Fayemi is battling to make the Western Nigeria state Nigeria’s largest snail farm. He is scaling up activities at the multi-billion naira farm situated in Okemesi Ekiti.
The Egbeja Snail Village is an initiative of Farmkonnect Agribusiness Nigeria Limited, and Touchstone Snails Technology, Cyprus. The snail village is also set to become Africa’s second-largest snail farm and is projected to produce 2,600 metric tons of snails annually.
“In line with the state government’s policy of encouraging private investments in the state, Governor Fayemi has commissioned the Egbeja Snail Village, with the founder of Farmkonnect Agribusiness, Azeez Oluwole Saheed, assuring that the initiative will create jobs for 2,000 individuals.
He explained that slime from the snails will be one of the farm’s exports, as it is in high demand in the hair/skincare and pharmaceutical industries.
The state government has also flagged-off the construction of 1,000 km rural roads in the state. The roads will facilitate the movement of agro commodities to the Special Agro-processing Zone.
The roads, which span the three senatorial districts in the state, will connect rural communities to farms, it further noted.
“This project is taking off with six pilot roads namely: Ogotun-Alagbede rd, Kajola-Ago Aduloju rd, Iyin Odo Oro-Aroto rd, Itaji-Orisunmibare rd, Oke Ako Farm rd, and Imesi Kosomolate rd, with others to commence in due course.
However, heliculture, better known as snail farming, according to the group, is a lucrative and exportable business due to its high global demand rate.
FESMAN National President, Ebeh Ogoenyi, says the industry is in line with the Federal Government’s policy on diversifying the economy especially in the wake of COVID-19 and the unstable oil sector
“We are seeking support to hasten the diversification of our economy. We are of the view that the snail sector, is the number one area to be considered”, Ogoenyi notes.
The president also stated that in a bid to bridge the demand gap of snail, his association was seeking investment in the snail sub-sector, adding, “we have been mobilising people across the country to go into snail farming so that we can secure our society, create jobs, ensure food security and produce industrial raw materials
“The market is there; it is only production that we need. We have been mobilising people to invest in it, in order to produce more”.
On the economic importance of snail, Ogoenyi stated that slime, which is one of the many raw materials derived from snail, was used in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.
He also listed the benefits of snail shell, which include its use for animal feed production as it contains 98 percent calcium, as well as the production of ornaments, floor tiles and for automotive brake pads.