Snail farming (Heliciculture): Benefits, economic viability, challenges and prospects
Gilbert Ndutu Munywoki
The article upholds snail farming as activities that aim to grow industrial species of snails with the aim of deriving products for direct human consumption or for further processing. While the global agricultural systems are prompted to produce more food to feed the growing population, scientists and policy makers have often focused on plant and higher animals such as livestock. However, discussions involving livestock have been solely tied to cattle, poultry, pigs and shoats while stamping out small animals like snails, shrimps and insects, and their contribution to food security. Although the introduction and acceptance of snails in some world traditional cultures have been remarkably good, its introduction and prevalence in most global dish varieties is relatively low. Snails are a reliable and nutritious food source whose rearing is less strenuous, easy to start on reliance on available food sources. The mucus secretion from snails has medicinal purposes. Key challenges to snail farming are safety concerns and socio-cultural barriers towards adoption and acceptance. Snail farming is an economically viable venture with global demand for the commodity increasing as well as intensified research from pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry. While the future for snail farming seems bright, there is need for more research and development, global regulation and information sharing on the venture.