The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Forestry Institute of Ghana (CSIR- FORIG) yesterday held its maiden ‘Snail Festival’ in Accra to create awareness and exhibit the economic importance of snails.
Held on the theme, “Farm snails, eat snails, market snails’, it also aimed at creating avenue for snail lovers to learn and as well as network.
The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Kwaku Afriyie, in a speech read on his behalf highlighted the economic importance of growing the snail industry in the country.
According to him, it was time the country focused their attention on the rearing of snails for commercialisation which would gain the country foreign exchange as well as create job opportunities for the teeming youth.
“Though some communities do not eat this delicacy, it is gradually gaining prominence in the country and beyond and is high time this opportunity is grabbed” he stated.
DrAfriyie called for an increase in snail farming to make up for the shortage in its supply in recent times.
He explained that the high consumption of snails served as a major farming activity to boost the nation’s protein supply and also serve as a disincentive for setting bushfires in order to conserve the country’s natural vegetation.
He called on all to delve into this new venture and pledged his outfit’s support for this course.
The Director-General of CSIR, Professor Paul Bosu speaking on its importance said snail rearing was a lucrative business and that they were seasonal creatures which had no end.
He was quick to add that the only way to ensure its sustainability was to encourage its rearing.
He pointed out that apart from using snails for food, it also had medicinal value.
The Director-General said the council was poised to enable the average Ghanaian embrace and appreciate what science could do to turn snails’ fortunes round.
The council, he said, would not relegate to the background its core values but would enforce them to the benefit of all and sundry.
“Our dream is to develop capacities and partnerships, because the knowledge we produce enables governments, partners and boundary partners to make informed decision toward development” he stated.
Prof.Bosu said due to the high nutritional value of snail they were attracting high patronage and therefore the need to help farmers to expand their farms to increase production and to also target the international market.
“It is no longer viable to be glued to the outmoded methods of farming and that was why CSIR and partners would collaborate to support young farmers with new technologies to get high returns on investment” he added.
Attendees of the snail festival sampled menus such as snail khebabs, soups with snails and for retail shelves with or without preservatives. On display were locally manufactured and imported technologies for extraction of snail slime and other uses.
BY BENEDICTA GYIMAAH FOLLEY