Bad agricultural practices such as slash and burn, deforestation and the use of pesticides have caused a drastic decline in snail stock in the wild, the Deputy Director General of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Prof. Paul P. Bosu, has observed.
He said bushfires and the collection of juvenile snails from their habitats have also contributed to the disturbing phenomenon which, if not checked, could force one of the delicacies of many tribes into extinction in the near future.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic shortly after a special capacity-building workshop for the youth on how to breed snails outside the forests, he said Ghanaians are already feeling the impact of the disturbing development.
For instance, he attributed the hike in the price of snails on the market to their decline which makes it difficult to find them in the wild.
“We realised that we cannot continue to depend on snails from the wild so the alternative is to farm snails from our backyard to supplement what we get from the forest.
“To do that, we need to create awareness of snail farming and build the capacity of our people.”
The one-day training workshop was organised by the CSIR in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) last Thursday at Bunso in the Eastern Region.
It was also to highlight the agribusiness potential of snail farming and its economic benefits.
It was also to equip participants with basic snail farming technologies as a sustainable revenue source and income generation option.
Topics discussed included types of snails, housing and selection of site for snail farming, feeding, diseases and pest management, as well as marketing and business development in snail farming.
Participants included those from the National Youth Authority in the Eastern Region, farmers and agric extension officers.
Speaking earlier during the opening of the workshop, Prof. Bosu said snail farming was easily integrated into a diversified farming venture, adding that with patience, good management and careful integration into existing farming activities, snail farming can provide substantial longer term rewards.
Prof. Bosu advised the participants to take advantage of the training to enhance their businesses.
He added that due to the high rate of unemployment in the country, the youth needed to strive to develop their skills in agriculture to earn a decent living for themselves.