The Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) has received a grant of €950, 646 (approximately over Ksh.127 million) to advance its snail breeding value chain research.

The Nurture Conservation research grant, according to a statement from the university’s Corporate Communications office, was issued by the Cherasco Worldwide Institute of Snail Breeding.

JKUAT represented Kenya in a round of funding that spanned over three rounds, and involved over ten countries, thereby beating out the likes of Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon to emerge top and receive .

The snail breeding value chain project in JKUAT has been focusing on value addition, coming up with an array of products ranging from delicious snail meat, skincare products, organic fertilizers, and animal feeds,” read the statement from the institution.

“The new frontier of the research will focus on tapping the medicinal value of snails, looking into generating a cough syrup from snail slime. This, the researchers believe, will be a groundbreaking solution and a game-changer to persistent coughs, especially among children under the age of five.”

Dr. Paul Kinoti, JKUAT’s snail breeding value chain research Principal Investigator, expressed his gratitude to the Cherasco Worldwide Institute of Snail Breeding for the funding, further adding that the “novelty of the innovation” by his team played a major role in swaying the grant their way.

“We are excited that the efforts we’ve made over the years have not been in vain and have been validated. We started small, and now we are going to impact lives. I am very grateful for the enabling research environment in JKUAT, and to all our partners and funding organization,” he said.

“This will help create a sustainable supply of the highly sought-after snail in the African and European market. Kenya’s climate is one of the best for snail breeding, and is also the natural habitat of the giant African land snail.”

JKUAT Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi,on her part, noted that not only does the snail breeding research plug into the university’s core focus of innovation and technology, but also supports the national government’s development agenda.

“The business of snail farming requires low capital investment and is highly profitable. The global snail industry is currently valued at 2 billion dollars, which I believe Kenya can emphatically tap into,” stated Prof. Ngumi.

“With this, we’re looking at a considerable impact on food security, entrepreneurship through agri-business, climate change mitigation, and achieving Universal Health Coverage.”