Agricultural Economics and Extension Project Topics

Economics of Snail Production in Enugu East Agricultural Zone of Enugu State, Nigeria

Economics of Snail Production in Enugu East Agricultural Zone of Enugu State, Nigeria

Economics of Snail Production in Enugu East Agricultural Zone of Enugu State, Nigeria

Chapter One

Objective of the Study

The broad objective of the study is to examine the economics of snail production  in Enugu State, Nigeria. The specific objectives are to:

  1. describe the socio-economic characteristics of snail farmers in Enugu
  2. describe snail production system in the study
  3. determine the cost and returns from snail farming in the study
  4. estimate factors influencing profitability of snail production in the area
  5. describe the snail marketing channel in the study
  6. identify constraints facing snail farmers in the study



Literature review for the study is presented under the following headings:

  • Conceptual Framework
  • Theoretical Framework
  • Analytical Framework
  • Related Empirical Studies

Conceptual Framework

Snails are bilaterally symmetrical invertebrates with soft-segmented exoskeleton  in the form of calcerous shells. In West Africa, snails dwell mostly in humid forest areas from where there are gathered by villagers for consumption and other uses (Ademosu and Omidigi, 1999). The meat has traditionally been a major ingredient in the diet of people living in high forest zone. Agbogidi et al. (2008) also reported that snails are high in protein, iron and low in fat. Adeyeye (1996) noted that snails contain almost  all  the amino acids required by man. In recent times, the wild snail population has declined considerably due mainly to the impact of man and other anthropogenic factors including deforestation, slash and burn agricultural practices and overexploitation of this animal resource stemming from the world teaming population hence the few remaining species are captured before they reach maturity (Esak and Takerhash, 1992).

Snails belong to a division of the animal kingdom called Mollusca. Mollusca constitute one of the major divisions of the animal kingdom (Ademosu and Omidigi, 1999). There are probably over 100,000 living species and those animals have adapted themselves to practically every available environmental condition. These animals according to Lincoln and sheds are found in the sea, at all depths from the intertidal zones to the abyssal trenches in all fresh water habitats and on land. Mollusca are grouped into six classes as follows: monoplacophora, Aplacophora, Polylacophora, Scaphopoda, Gastropoda and Cephalopoda. Snails are of the class Gastropoda. The Gastropoda is further divided into three unequal sub classes which are the Prosobranchia, Opisthobrnechia and Pulmonate (which includes the land snails), These (Gastropoda are  of all sizes less than that of tiny pin head up to a length of 60cm (size attained by the big horse conel (Fasciolaria gigantea (ENEDEP 2009). The Gastropoda include the snails slugs limperts, periwinknes Whalls, sea – hares and so on.



  • The Study Area

The study area is Enugu State, Nigeria. Enugu State was created in 1991. The  State comprises of seventeen (17) local government areas. The state  lies  between  latitudes 50 561 and 70 051N of equator and longitude 60 531 E and 70 551E of Greenwich meridian. The State shares boarders with Abia state to the south, Ebonyi State to the East, Benue State to the North east, Kogi State to the Northwest and Anambra State to the west (ENADEP, 2009).

According to ENADEP (2009), Enugu State is divided into three (3) major agricultural zones:

  • Enugu North comprising Nsukka, Igbo-eze North, Igbo-eze South, Igho-etiti, Udenu and Uzo-uwani G.As.
  • Enugu East comprising Isi-uzo, Enugu East, Enugu North, Enugu South, Nkanu East and Nkanu West G.As.
  • Enugu West comprising Awgu, Aninri, Oji-River, Ezeagu and Udi G.As

With a population of about 3,257, 298 people, (NPC, 2006) Enugu State has a population density of about three hundred and sixty persons per square kilometer. Its land area is approximately 8,022 95km2 (ENADEP 2009). According to (ENADEP, 2009), Enugu State has good soil and climate, its physical features change gradually  from  tropical rain forest to open wood-land. The two main seasons are rainy season and dry season. The State is about 223 meters above the sea level, and the temperature in the hottest month of  February is about 36.200c (97.16F), while the lowest occurs in  months  of November reaching about 20.30oc (68.54oF). The lowest rainfall exists around February and is about 0.16cm3 while the highest is about 35.7cm3 in July. Economically, the state is predominantly rural and agrarian, although trading (18.8%) and services (12.9%) are also emerging.


Socio-Economic Characteristics of Respondents

The analysis of socio-economic characteristics of the respondents was done with respect to age, sex, household size, farming experience, and stock size.

Age Distribution of Respondents

The respondents interviewed showed varying age distribution ranging from about 20 years to above 50 years (Table 4.1). About 50% of the farmers fell within the age bracket of 31-40 years, 35.7% fell within the age bracket of 41-50years, while 4.3% were above 50 years. Table 4.1 shows that most (95.7%) of the farmers were within the economically active age brackets (30-50years). This suggested the likelihood of increased gross margin and net profit of the snail farmers in the study area.

Table 4.1: Frequency Distribution of the Respondents according to Age




The study analyzed the economics of snail production in Enugu East Agricultural Zone of Enugu State, Nigeria. The objectives of this study were to: (a) describe the socio- economic characteristics of snail farmers in the area; (b) identify the snail rearing techniques; (c) evaluate the profitability of snail farming; (d) determine the factors influencing profitability in snail production; (e) describe the marketing channels  for  snails; (f) ascertain the constraints to snail production; and (g) make policy recommendations based on findings of this study. Using purposive and multi-stage  random sampling techniques, data were collected from 70 respondents drawn from Enugu East Agricultural zone. A set of structured questionnaires were used for the study. Data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics like profit function  and  net return analysis.

The findings of this study showed that 95.7% of the sampled respondents were within the economically active age bracket (21-50 years). About 87% of the respondents were males while 12.86 % were females, an indication that men were mostly involved in snail production in the study area. Average household size was about seven persons, with majority (52.86%) having household whose sizes ranges from 5-8 persons; all  the  sampled respondents were literate with at least primary education, though 24.29% had tertiary education. This implies that some unemployed persons were involved in snail farming. The mean farming experience was about 7 years indicating that most of the farmers had been in the business for a long time and were therefore conversant with the problems of snail production in the study area. About 67% of the respondents were married. Majority (44%) of the snail farmers practiced trench pens production techniques, according to them; they obtained higher output using this method.

Average number of snails per farmer was 465 snails and average revenue of N70,879.00 in production cycle of six months. The average labor utilization was 53.69 man-days per snail farmer. Three marketing channels were identified. These were (a) producers to consumers (b) producers to wholesalers to retailers to consumers and (c) producers to wholesalers to consumers. Gross margin and net profit were N54,955.77 and N47,367.25 per snail farmer respectively. The return per naira on investment was 2.01. This shows that snail farmers were making profit, and this might go a long way to boost their income thereby improving their wellbeing.

Output price positively and significantly influenced the profitability of snail production in the study area, while labour cost, feed cost and land cost (rental value of land) all had negative and significant effects on the level of profit. The R2 value of about 0.891 showed that the regressed variables explained 89% of the variability in profit. All  the regressed variables were in line with a priori expectations.


The return per naira invested, net income, gross margin, profit function analysis indicated that the farmers made profit. Poor visit by extension agents, lack of space, and lack of finance and problem of predators were adjudged major constraints to snail production by farmers in the study area.

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