The Giant African Snail is sought after in parts of the world for its nutritional and cosmetic benefits. In Nigeria, some entrepreneurs have found opportunities to export the molluscs abroad. Ciara Lee reports.
From food to beauty... the Giant African Land snail is in demand. For one Nigerian entrepreneur, business moving rather faster than the creatures themselves. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FOUNDER, BAYLOW FOODS, OLUWATOBILOLA OHIOMA-BELO, SAYING: "The export business came when I started here in Lagos and I had a lot of enquiries from the US from the UK from Holland. The molluscs are sought for their mucus, said to be full of collagen and other compounds that regenerate skin cells. Oluwatobilola is preparing her first order of 1,000 snails to the UK, shelling out 4,000 US dollars on the shipment. But she expects to make a healthy profit from the deal. Snail Care Farm is one of her suppliers, with over 20,000 snails roaming the farm. Free range .... (SOUNDBITE) (English) MANAGING DIRECTOR, SNAIL CARE FARM, TADZIO OKHIRIA, SAYING: "Because of its amazing benefits, not just nutritional benefits, but other benefits, for instance the slime now, it is being harvested massively and used in cosmetics and cosmetics." Snail meat is also said to be nutritious - it's low in cholesterol and rich in protein. But the shipping of livestock is a tricky process, requiring traders to comply with strict regulations. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FOUNDER, BAYLOW FOODS, OLUWATOBILOLA OHIOMA-BELO, SAYING: "In terms of sourcing you know in large quantities, you have to really have your game really really tight, then having the right people who would freight for you, because I know a lot of people have issues, they tell me it took them like one week or two weeks, so by the time they get their goods it's either it is rotten or the customers are not interested, or they are not as fresh as they were." Oluwatobilola hopes to one day open her own snail factory, producing snail meat and collecting mucus, as well as grinding snail shells into powder for fertilizer and poultry feed.