Ismail Abdulazeez is a thriving snail farmer who has carved a niche for himself in a country with one of the highest unemployment rates in Africa. While young people, many of them high-school graduates, look to the government and big companies for formal employment, Nigerians like Ismail are looking beyond the obvious challenges and achieving amazing business success!
The reason snail farming is thriving at the moment in Africa is as obvious as it is overlooked. More than 90 percent of the snails supplied to African markets are handpicked from the bushes and forests during the wet season. However, as more rural dwellers head to the cities for jobs and our forests are rapidly overtaken by new and expanding cities, snail farming in small farms and home backyards is gradually becoming a sustainable and lucrative supply source. Ismail identified this opportunity in the market and is exploiting it to maximum advantage!
The most common snail breed in many parts of Africa is the Giant African land snail (Achatina species). It’s the largest snail in the world and can easily be found across West Africa’s vast tropical forests. Under this climate, snails tend to thrive and multiply very fast. Many of them are known to grow up to 30 centimetres in length!
According to his 2011 interview with CNN’s Christian Purefoy, Ismail reveals how snails farmed in his backyard are fetching very significant returns. Young snails, which cost about 16 cents, when fully grown, are sold for nearly $1.50 each. His customer base includes luxury hotels and high-class restaurants in Lagos, Nigeria’s populous commercial centre.
Snails are a rich source of animal protein and contain a huge blend of essential amino acids. It has a very low cholesterol content, which makes it a healthier favourite and alternative to the fatty red meats that still make up a significant part of the African diet. However, the rising consciousness of Africa’s middle and upper class to choose healthy diets has made snails a popular feature of expensive meals in hotels, bars and restaurants.
Tasty African delicacies featuring the Giant African snail (photo credits: afrolems.com; mamadish.com)
The video below is a CNN-featured interview in Ismail’s backyard snail farm. He tells the story of his success as a snail farmer and how he is helping others achieve success the way he did. The interview ends in the kitchen of one of the most prestigious hotels in Lagos where his snails are transformed into delicacies that fetch quite a handsome price.
In addition to his snail farming venture, Ismail is an ardent trainer. His services as a consultant and trainer now serve as rich extra income streams. He uses his extensive knowledge in snail farming to help young Nigerians looking to climb their way out of poverty and unemployment. To date, he has mentored and coached more than 1.000 people to attain financial sufficiency by exploiting the lucrative local snail market.
CNN interview with Ismail Abdulazeez, the successful Nigerian snail farmer
Ismail has grown to become a subject matter expert in snail farming in Nigeria. His snails have also been exported to countries as far as Norway, the UK and Continental Europe. The foreign market for Giant African Snails has continued to increase due to demand from Africans who have travelled and now live abroad. Others are enthralled by its incredible size and keep them as pets and keepsakes.
Snail farming may not be as popular as other types of livestock farming but the demand and appetite for snails is definitely on the rise. Ismail and a few other entrepreneurs like him have exploited this niche market to great advantage.
Ismail’s personal philosophy reads: ‘If it is to be, it is up to me’ sums up the determined spirit of this successful entrepreneur who, in addition to securing his financial independence, is helping other young Nigerians do the same. Who would have thought that farming an overlooked and underrated creature like snails would achieve such success? Afterall, Ismail’s snail farming got him on CNN!
Do you still think that business idea you’ve been considering is too ordinary or irrelevant to make you successful? There are hundreds of ideas like snail farming that can change your life in Africa. Our snail farming article (click here) is a great place to start if you’re interested in this business.
Do you have a similar idea that’s still stuck inside your head? You can be sure it won’t make any money in there until you take action and start a business. Have you started doing something about it?
If you have any experience in this area, we’re sure a lot of people reading this article would love to learn from you. Please leave a comment in the section below or share this inspiration with a friend.
To your financial success!