Sluggish Economy: Businessmen hope snails will rake in the cash

2017-02-20 17:20
(File, Prakash Mathema, AFP)

(File, Prakash Mathema, AFP)

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Mossel Bay – Those pesky snails that destroy plants in your garden might soon become money-spinners.

A group of businessmen are building a new factory in Mossel Bay's industrial area, Mossdustria, where garden snails will be processed and sold to both local and international buyers, Netwerk24 reported on Monday.

They hope to start production by April 3. As far as can be ascertained, it will be the first production plant of its kind in South Africa.

Members of the public have been invited to bring snails to the factory. Depending on the quality, they will be paid per kilogram, with the price ranging from R10 to R25/kg.

Fanie Pretorius, a Mossel Bay businessman and one of the directors of IVITL Snails, said Wally Hammond, one of the other directors, had come up with the idea five years ago.

However, it remained on the back burner until Hammond and another group of businesspeople got together and decided to build the plant.

Snails to be exported

They want to process the so-called brown garden snails, Helix aspersa Müller and Helix aspersa maxima.

The snails will be used in cosmetics, as food for people, and in fodder for animals and poultry.

"The machines to process the snails have already been built. It's an all-out food factory," said Pretorius.

Most of the snails will be exported to Europe and the US.

"We hope to process about 20 tons of snails a month."

Their research has shown that between 20kg and 30kg of snails can possibly be harvested in a week in a 1 000m² garden.

Strict regulations

According to Pretorius, the surrounding community is involved and will benefit from it. The company will provide 30 direct jobs and about 150 families are expected to benefit indirectly. A household producing snails could earn up to R4 000 a month.

"There will be benefits across the board. From individuals to large-scale farmers."

There are strict regulations, including that the snails have to be fully grown.

Pretorius emphasised that the factory would adhere to the strict requirements of the European Union.

The snails will hibernate before being processed.

He said they had already held talks with the Mossel Bay municipality about community programmes in which to include the snail project.

"The feedback has been positive."

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