SNAILS – the bane of every gardener’s life – could prove to be a very profitable alternative farming enterprise, a major conference has been told.
There is an ongoing demand for snails across continental Europe – and especially France and Italy – according to the National Organic Training Skillnets (NOTS) group.
The global market for edible snails is worth in the region of €1 billion with the French and Italian markets accounting for almost one third of that total.
According to NOTS, an acre of land producing snails, has ‘the potential to generate a profit of €20,000.
The snail farming seminar recently held in Tullamore attracted 300 delegates interested in exploring the alternative enterprise of snail farming.
Delegates viewed presentations by Irish snail farmers looking at production methods, domestic and international markets, viability and profitability, potential difficulties and the main reasons for failure.
It is though very much a minority and niche enterprise in Ireland with just 30 snail farmers in business and only six of those commercially.
After the conference in Tullamore, many of the delegates – who paid €100 each to take part in the seminar – enjoyed a ‘networking dinner’, where snails were very much part of the menu.
While snails might be very low on the popularity list with Irish consumers, they are considered both a ‘real delicacy’ and ‘highly nutritious’ by diners across France and Italy.
Snail meat contains proteins, iron and Omega-3 and is considered a very healthy food in France and Italy.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.