By Victoria Nampala Bugembe
What started as a hobby for Edward Waiswa Nyende is now a full-time job. The youthful farmer started with just 12 snails after quitting his radio job on Bamboo FM in Jinja, in 2010.
How he started
“When I started rearing snails, my sole aim was to get some income and live a happy life.”
However, he earned enough money due to the diverse opportunities it has provided within the country.
The appetite for snails among foreign communities, the animal feed industry, and crafts is highly in demand.
With over 100,000 snails in stock, Nyende has given parent stock to 15 other farmers who developed an interest in the snail business directly or indirectly. he has so far sold 1,000 parent stock at Shs700 each.
Snail farming is not going to overtake traditional cash crops anytime soon as the financial side of rearing snails is very attractive. “The more demand we have, the more consistent and fast the market becomes,” he added.
Nyende says there is a ready market even in Uganda and he sells each snail at Shs5,000.
Nyende supplies more than 150 snails per week, earning about Shs700,000. A kilogram of snail meat goes for sh350,000.
“I always knew there were buyers, but I could not realize they would become that important and how to get them to buy the snails from my farm.”
Though they are a nuisance of everyday in gardens and compounds, snails are a very profitable farming business.
“I get an offer to supply one restaurant 50 kilograms weekly but I could only afford five,” he noted.
snails lay eggs in entrances, and a healthy snail can lay between 250 and 500 eggs at age.
Nyende feeds the snails on vegetables like cabbages, sukuma wiki, fruits like watermelon, and rainwater because Salts kill them very quickly. They drink water without purities.
“I also add lime to their food to harden their shells which are used in craft and chicken feed, and the snails are fed twice a day,” he says,
The food is placed in the boxes within the snail greenhouse where he rears them.
Nyende says snails bloom in cool temperatures and wet surfaces, which enable them to multiply during the rainy season at a faster rate.
A snail takes six months to mature but can live for six to 10 years. Nyende says that if the feeding is right, a good snail can weigh 1kg.