A snail farming expert, Mr Sunday Ido, has called on government and private sectors to fund local farmers to boost the capacity and productivity of snail farming.
Ido, saying that training was not just enough, noted that most local snail farmers could not meet the demand because of their low production capacity.
According to him, the seasonal scarcity of snails and inability to meet the growing demand for the produce is tied to weather and poor funding of few farmers in the sector.
“We need funding to expand our capacity. It is a lucrative business but we need more support.
“There are two main reasons why we experience seasonal scarcity of snails in Nigeria. First, snails take a long time to grow to maturity and the right size for sale.
“Secondly, we do not have enough snail farmers to meet up the growing demand for snails in the country.
“Sometimes, we have to make refunds to our customers when we cannot meet their demands because most of the local snail farmers are small scale farmers,’’ he said.
He noted that the sector was still producing below standard, hence could not meet the growing demand.
He also said that climate change was another major determinant of productivity in the sector but financial support would help the sector more.
Ido said that during rainy season, snails thrive more and are always available.
“The weather has a way of affecting the productivity of snails.
“From September to end of February, we have low output of snails because of the dry season; currently, we do not have enough snails,” he said.
He, however, reiterated that farmers in the sector resulted into getting snails from fellow snail farmers to meet up the demand when short of stock.
“For example; if I have 10,000 snails in my farm, just the patronage of 10 hotels or restaurant will exhaust the stock in two months.
“If a hotel buys 500 snails in a week, apparently in a month they will buy 2000 snails from me and my stock is exhausted,’’ he explained.
Ido, therefore, said that there was need for more funding in the sector, saying that it takes more than a year and six months to grow snails to maturity.