Wangui Waweru from Nakuru County discovered snail rearing as a lucrative business after a visit to Kisumu.
At the moment, the snail farmer sells these delicacies to her customers drawn from West Africa, Asia and parts of Europe.
Here is Wangui’s story as told by WoK.
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Interest in snail farming
About 8 years ago, Wangui had visited Kisumu to sell farm produce when she discovered how lucrative snail farming was.
She interacted with a snail farmer who gave her tips on snail rearing and markets for her produce.
“The idea to venture into snail farming came about during one of my trips to Kisumu to sell farm produce. I visited a snail farmer who dished out a few tips on rearing them as well as potential markets
“She took me to the farm where she had bought them and I developed an interest in rearing the snails immediately,” Wangui said.
Venturing into snail farming
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After traveling back to Nakuru, Wangui decides to venture into snail farming, and enrolled for a Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) course.
She later received a permit from KWS at a cost of Ksh 1,500 after which she started procuring the required materials for the business.
KWS officials must visit the facility one has before issuance of the permit.
With her Ksh 30,000 savings, Wangui bought a greenhouse polythene, wire mesh and 100 plastic basins.
“Africa is home to the largest species of snails in the world. The Giant African land snail, compared to other livestock, are easy and cheap to keep and maintain
“And when you target the right market and customers, snail farming can be a very rewarding business,” she explained.
She sells her produce to Ghanaians, Cameroonians, Nigerians, Senegalese, Sierra Leones and Togolese, South Americans and Asians in the country.
On average, she sells about 30 kilos of snails per month with a kilo going for between Ksh 2,000 and Ksh 3,000 per kilo.
Just like any other business, Wangui faced challenges while starting her venture.
Wangui said marketing her produce was the hardest bit of her venture as snail farmers harvest the produce at the same time.
“Marketing my produce was one of the hardest things I experienced as a farmer. I spent many sleepless nights thinking about cost and where to sell since most farmers harvest the produce at the same time which fuels the marketing challenge,” she stated.
Wangui feeds her snails on vegetables, especially cabbages, fruits and calcium to strengthen their shells.
She explained that snails are made up of 15 per cent proteins, 2.4 per cent fat and 80 per cent water, and they are rich in fatty acids, calcium, iron, selenium, magnesium and vitamins E, A, K and B12.
To prepare, one needs to simply boil the snails for five minutes to get rid of the mucus and fry it with tomatoes and onions.
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