Ever tasted a delicious meal of snail meat? You will have to part with Sh3,500 for kilo of snail meat, if farmers embrace snail farming.
The rare farming venture is being promoted by the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.
The university is showcasing the farming technology at the ongoing Nairobi Trade Fair Show led by Dr Paul Kinoti from the department of horticulture.
He said they get bio-products from the snails that are bred in a fully organic environment.
“The snails’ diet and their growth is completely natural and free of any chemical fertilizers, pesticides or other chemicals. Snail farming is growing and scaling fast given the demand available locally and the opportunities fore export market,” he said.
Kinoti said they are working towards educating farmers and Kenyans that there are other options of food besides what they are used to.
There are different snail species in Kenya including small-shell, terrestrial snails, giant land snail, giant slug, giant blue slug, cone snail and land snail.
“The snail species we are breeding is edible. It is called the African Giant Snail and besides the meat, there are other products that you can get from the snail,” said Ivy Rose, a student in the department of horticulture at JKUAT.
She said besides snail meat, other bio-products include skin cream which is both medicinal and used for cosmetic, liquid soap, chicken and fish feeds and organic fertilizer.
Rose explained that the meat is rich in proteins & calcium, has Omega 3 fatty acids, has high selenium content and is low in cholesterol.
The face cream, she explained is 100 percent produced from the slime while the soap has less concentrations. The snail cream is used to heal burns, pain reliever, has anti-aging effects, removes acne and treat dark spots.
“The shell has high calcium and can be used to treat waste water as they can trap heavy metals. The shells can also be shredded and used The low cost greenhouse also has a gutter system that collects rain water which is used for drip irrigation.
He said the greenhouses can be easily be assembled and dissembled if one wants to vacate to another place. to make chicken and fish feeds,” Rose said.
It can also be used to make snail organic fertilizer which has calcium content and hence good for restoration of soil depleted vitamins and minerals, and it is also ecologically and environmentally safe.
“We are seeking to address food insecurity, soil fertility, help with availability of animal feeds which has increased cost of production and also skin health. We are also researching on production of cough syrup,” she said.
She assured farmers of ready market for the snails locally and internationally. One kg of snail meat fetches Sh3,500, a 50ml bottle of skin cream costs Sh2,000 while a 100ml bottle of liquid soap costs Sh250. She said the university is looking to work with farmers to increase production.
On how to prepare a delicious meal of snails, Rose explained that you first need to put the snail in warm water and then de-shell it.
“Remove the intestines and wash it with cold water as many times as you can before you finally wash in warm water to ensure it is not slimy. The low cost greenhouse also has a gutter system that collects rain water which is used for drip irrigation.
He said the greenhouses can be easily be assembled and dissembled if one wants to vacate to another place. hen cut it into small pieces and cook it like any other meat or to your preference,” she concluded.