The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine has been asked if his department will make supports available to farmers who wish to venture in snail farming.
The parliamentary question was raised by Meath-East Sinn Féin TD, Darren O’ Rourke.
In response, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, said: “Helicicilture, more commonly known as snail farming, is a niche farming concept.”
“Climatic conditions in Ireland are suitable for year-round snail breeding and Bord Bia conducted research in 2018 which showed the strong export market potential for snails, particularly in Europe.”
“Farmers interested in snail farming may wish to refer to the helpful guidance document on snail farming produced by Teagasc which is available on their website.”
Furthermore, he added, advisory support for those looking to diversify their enterprise is available through the Teagasc Options for Farm Families Programme and interested farmers should contact their local Teagasc office, details of which are available on their website also.
Training and herd number
“Teagasc recommends that potential snail farmers visit a commercial snail farm and get involved in a course, prior to investing any resources.”
“To register as a snail farmer, you must obtain a herd number for your holding (land used for farming purposes) from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.”
Snail farmers who intend to process snails must be registered as a snail farmer with their local Department Regional Veterinary Office (RVO) and they must also be registered as a meat establishment with the Department’s Meat Hygiene Division, he added.
Vouchers of €5,000
“There are currently no schemes under the Rural Development Programme to support snail farming.”
“However, the Deputy may also wish to note that snail farming may benefit from wider supports for which the Teagasc’ Food Research centres are Knowledge Providers.”
“This scheme awards vouchers of €5,000 to small companies who have a business opportunity or problem. The voucher can be exchanged for advice and expertise. Further details can be found on their website.” he concluded.