The farming of giant snails in the Ivory Coast has become a big business, despite the fact that these snails only weigh a maximum of 500 grams and grow to a maximum of 10 centimeters. They are considered a delicacy for their tasty flesh and are also used to make cosmetics from their slime and shells.
However, the wild snail population has been decimated due to the loss of nearly 90 percent of the country’s forests over the last 60 years, as well as the widespread use of pesticides. This loss of habitat has led to a decline in wild snail numbers, prompting the rise of farms that specialize in breeding them. There are now around 1,500 of these farms in the humid south of the country.
One such farm is located in the town of Azaguie, about 40km north of the commercial capital, Abidjan. The farm consists of 10 brick and cement containers topped with mesh lids, filled with earth and leaves. Inside, thousands of snails, including juveniles and breeders, are kept and cared for.
The snails are watered and fed every two days, and the farm is part of a growing industry that provides a popular appetizer in the Ivory Coast. The snails bred on these farms are much larger than those found in Europe, making them a sought-after delicacy.
Despite the decline in wild snail populations, the farming of giant snails has provided a sustainable alternative, while also contributing to the country’s economy. As the demand for these snails continues to grow, so too does the industry that supports their breeding and production.
Agriculture, Business, Economy