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Snail farming in Cameroon is still a largely underexploited business in Cameroon. If well optimized, it could create employment for many unemployed Cameroonian youths, more especially as the current socio-political crisis continues its plague in the country’s two English-speaking regions.
In many parts of the world, the idea of eating snails is stomach-churning. Except perhaps in France. And in West Africa, where the molluscs are consumed in large quantities as a source of protein. In some parts of Cameroon, snails, locally known as ‘Nyama ngoro’ or ‘Congo meat,’ is a delicacy many love. Due to its affordability and availability all-year round, many often prefer it over beef or pork.
West Africa is home to the largest species of land snail in the world. For hundreds of years, Africa’s appetite for snails has been served through traditional means. Snails, handpicked from the bush (usually in the dead of the night) have been the only way to get snails to the market and dinner table.
However, as Africa’s population explodes and its forests continue to be sacrificed to build cities, the supply of snails from the bushes cannot keep up with the soaring demand.
This has created an opportunity in the market for snail breeders and farmers who now cultivate these slow creatures on small farms and in their backyards for impressive profits. The concept of snail farming in Cameroon is, therefore, picking a lot of steam among Cameroonian farmers.
Find out the top 4 entrepreneurs who are venturing into snail farming in Cameroon. We call them the Snailpreneurs.
Rofur Mbunkur is an all-round entrepreneur. But most importantly, he’s one of Cameroon’s leading urban snails farmer. This urban farmer runs his snails farm from Douala for its nearness to a huge ready market. Rofur and his team ensures that these crawlers are well fed and that sanitary condition is strictly observed. He’s also the founder of Urban Farmers Association (UFA), a group of individuals from the urban cities of Cameroon, interested in farming.
Through UFA, Rofur Mbunkur employs modern technologies and techniques to carry out farming on a large scale. Staying true to this intention, the association engages in animal, greenhouse, and plantation farming. UFA currently owns and operates the biggest snails farm in Cameroon. The associaltion is also still working hard on developing a proper local market for packaged snails.
The Urban Farmers Association is doing an incredible job to increase the quantity of snail sent to the market to meet ever-increasing demand. But for this industry to grow, more Cameroonian farmers must start looking forward to growing snails at a larger scale as Rofur Mbunkur is doing.
This snail entrepreneur is absolutely revolutionizing the concept of snail farming and consumption in Cameroon. Having recorded a remarkable success in the recent past, it’s, therefore, evident that 2019 holds more for this enterprising entrepreneur.
2. Nina Ngassa
Not many people know how to clean their own snails, or want to do the dirty job in the first place. Nina Ngassa, a woman entrepreneur in Cameroon, is making her fortune by doing the job many would rather avoid. Nina, however, seized the opportunity once it presented itself to start her own business which today features on National and International Media platforms. She’s the founder of Nina’s Slow Boys, an agricultural startup that plucks, cleans, packages and delivers snails. Today, her business employs more than 10 female snail workers who have found a new source of livelihood.
FabAfriq describes Nina Ngassa as one of the most versatile female Cameroonian entrepreneurs. The serial Bamileke business woman is an inspiration to both women and men across the border. Nina’s Slow Boys which packages and ships snails within and out of the country is one of her key businesses. There’s much more to Nina Ngassa than what meets the eyes.
This young couple operate Fogham Foods, a young Buea-based startup specializing in the supply of quality snails to customers both at home and abroad. As insignificant as these creatures may seem, this couple make a lot of money from their sales due to increase demand and high consumption rate at home and abroad. Despite the challenge of doing business in the ongoing socio-political crisis, these young entrepreneurs developed some survival tips that have helped them to not only survive, but thrive.
The year 2019 just might be the year when they venture into the international market.
4. Lum Ndenecho
She might not have garnered a lot of media attention yet, but Lum Ndenecho is one Cameroonian snail researcher to watch out for. This young entrepreneur in 2010, was still researching snail farming at the University of Buea. She established her breeding stock in the first year, before entering full production. Her hope was to expand her snail operation within two years, to produce about 50,000 snails per year.
While Ndenecho currently focuses on snail rearing, she knows that snail processing is the path to higher income. 2019 might be that year when she realizes her goal of producing 50,000 snails annually and venturing into snail processing.
It all starts with small snail houses in the backyard. These days, snails are available in backyards all over Cameroon’s Southwest Region. While snail farming in Cameroon has helped these snailpreneurs to achieve quite little in the previous years, 2019 might be their year of mega achievement.
Did we leave out any snailpreneurs you think are making it big? Perhaps, you have some tips about snail farming in Cameroon. Please, share with us in the comments section below.