Updated: Nov 15, 2019
This August we were privy to learn a bit about Capricorn farms, one of Nigeria’s leading snail producer from its Managing Director, Mr. Ademolu Onabajo. Mr. Onabajo shared his journey and wisdom with us as well as some useful advice for budding agropreneurs.
Agricmania: How did you get into agriculture? (what influenced that career path)
Mr. Onabajo: Right from my early stage in life I was exposed to agriculture. I schooled in the village and this has made me love agriculture from a young age. I remember returning from school and joining my grandmother on the farm in the evening every day.
Agricmania: What benefits have you enjoyed as a farmer?
Mr. Onabajo: So many benefits which includes: time management, comfort, happiness, passion, healthy living, etc.
Agricmania: We know Capricorn farms are known for quality snail production. Could you share some of the challenges and opportunities in snail production?
Mr. Onabajo: There are lots of opportunities in Snail farming. In fact, only few of these opportunities has been harnessed here in Nigeria. Snail farming requires the least capital to start among all livestock, it requires the minimal space to start, affords the opportunity of starting very small and grow big; (I started from my living room), requires minimal labour, and cost of feeding.
The value chain in snail farming is not well developed in Nigeria. We have a situation where everybody wants to be a snail farmer. It doesn’t work like that. For snail farming to be sustainable, the value chain must be developed. Most bye products of snail meat processing are wasting. Products like the shell which can be used for arts and decorations, the slime which is widely sought after by cosmetics industry; all these are waste in Nigeria.
The challenges in snail farming include but not limited to lack of adequate knowledge about snail farming because I had to learn through trial and error until I met someone who put me through.
Patience is another challenge; one must be patient because snails themselves are patient animal. If you can’t master patience don’t go into snail farming. Mortality is another challenge I faced in snail farming; Snails are very quiet animal, you can hardly know when something is wrong with them it takes experience to understand their nature and behavioural pattern.
Moreso, snail are organic in nature, they feeds on natural feeds like fruits and vegetables. They also feeds on concentrates which must not contain any chemical of whatever quantity.
The most important is the cost of snail meat. Snail meat is expensive in Nigeria. An average table size sells for N400 a piece. How many household can afford that when we have substitute costing far less than that.
The research institutes are not helping matters at all. They shun out outdated research results and experiments. I resorted to carrying out experiment on my own in collaboration with other snail farmers.
Agricmania: A lot of agribusinesses fail because of lack of preparation. How can intending farmers prepare for success?
Mr. Onabajo: Training and knowledge is the reason why most failed. Agribusiness like every other business needs training. Not online training but practical farm training.
I always tell people who intend to go into agribusiness especially snail farming to get trained practically to understand the techniques involved. For example; not all snails are economically viable, you should breed only snails that are commercial good except if you are breeding for consumption.
Another thing is majority always fall into the hands of google farmers and projector farmers. I always say, you can’t learn agribusiness online. The internet is there for mentoring and not for training. I run both Facebook and WhatsApp group for mentoring people on snail farming and the testimonies are there for all to see.
Another thing is if you are not going to manage the farm yourself make sure the farm manager or farm hand is well trained. I’ve had instances of setting up farms for people whose farm hands claim to know about snail farming but alas, they know nothing.
Also, don’t engage anyone who has no passion nor interest in agribusiness. Anyone venturing into agribusiness must have passion and interest if not its failure right from the start. For those expecting quick money I say agribusiness is not for you.
Agricmania: What is the goal ahead for you and Capricorn farms?
Mr. Onabajo: Our mission at Capricorn Farms Ltd is to produce organic meat for healthy living while our vision is to make snail meat, the only organic meat (that has no fake or plastic for now) available to all Nigerians at affordable price.
In line with our mission and vision we are working steadily exploring and exploiting the various value chain in snail farming. Recently we introduced “Dehydrator Dried Snail Meat” into the Nigerian market. A shift from the usual oven dried meat.
Our Dehydrator Dried Snail Meat has a shelf life of 3 months and is the cheapest of snail meat in the market. The product was unveiled at the NASME Business Roundtable Exhibition held in Lagos where Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce Industry and Cooperatives Hon. Mrs. Yinka Oladunjoye made a very good remark about the product.
We at Capricorn Farms Ltd are working hard with other colleagues in the snail farming business to reduce the production cost to make snail meat affordable and available to every Nigerian homes.
Agricmania: Thank you sir.
Mr. Ademolu Onabajo is the Managing Director of Capricorn farms, and a director at Olaoluwa cooperative Multipurpose Society. He is an advocate of youth agribusiness empowerment as well as a public and political analyst. He is happily married with children.
Capricorn Farms is the one of Nigeria’s leading snail producers with products like live snails, freshly processed snails and their new gem, the Dehydrator dried snails. Capricorn farms also offers training and consulting services for intending snail farmers.
Their contact address: 27, Ibidapo Kayode street, Olorogbo Agbede, Ikorodu, Lagos.
Phone/Whatsapp: +234(80)28719010, +234(81)88002648
Facebook: Capricornfarmsltd, Instagram: Capricornfarms