Rep. of the VC, the DVC (D), Prof. Kolawole Salako (2nd Left), giving the Welcome Address at the Conference, while from left is Dr. Uduma Osonwa, Emeritus Prof. Ademola Segun and the Director (IFSERAR), Prof. Segun Osinowo.

Rep. of the VC, the DVC (D), Prof. Kolawole Salako (2nd Left), giving the Welcome Address at the Conference, while from left is Dr. Uduma Osonwa, Emeritus Prof. Ademola Segun and the Director (IFSERAR), Prof. Segun Osinowo.

The medical and economic values of the Giant African Land Snail (GALS) have been observed by scientists to be inexhaustible.

The observation was made at the just-concluded 1st International Conference on GALS, organized by the Institute of Food Security, Environmental Resources and Agricultural Research (IFSERAR) of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB).

In a Keynote Address titled, Snail Production for Sustainable Development and Good Health, the National Project Coordinator, Science and Technology Education Post-Basic (STEP-B) Project, Professor M. U. Adikwu, who was represented by Dr. Uduma Osonwa, disclosed that pharmaceuticals utilise GALS for the treatment of whooping cough, hypertension, stretch marks and wounds.

According to him, research has also revealed that GALS is highly recommended for its protein, calcium, potassium, iron and mineral contents as well as for reduction of constipation, labour pain and blood loss and for diabetic treatment.

Delivering a Lecture on the Potential Healthcare Products from Giant African Land Snail, at the preliminary session of the Conference, the Director of the University’s Biotechnology Centre, Professor Okanlanwon Onagbesan, highlighted the medical use and research findings of GAL’s meat, mucus and fluid to include the elongation of life expectancy, increase in sperm count and size of testicles as well as being useful as anti-ageing creams.

Professor Onagbesan, who enumerated other uses of GALS in the rapid healing of wounds, however, called on researchers to explore available windows of opportunity for global development.

In a related paper, delivered on the Recent Advances in the Biology of the Giant African Land Snails, Professor (Mrs.) R. I. Egonmwan, of the Department of Zoology, University of Lagos, emphasized the need to educate Nigerians on proper procedures for snail farming, hunting and the current researches, to harness its full potentials.

Explaining the Biology of the Giant African Land Snail, Professor Egonmwan said the snail strives better in humid atmosphere and owing to the fact that they are hermaphrodites, they easily fertilize, either through the process of ‘out-crossing’ or ‘selfing’.

She pointed out that their eggs are usually buried in the soil, as she stated that in the case where they were seen above the soil, they should be carefully collected using spoon, covered with tissue, to provide the required humidity.
Professor Egonmwan advised against the continuous hunting of GALS, warning that the practice could lead to the gradual extinction of the breed.

research findings on GALS, formation of research network, development of research agenda and the promotion of commercial snail production and biological products’ development.

Professor Osinowo gave credit to one of the pioneering Researchers on GALS, the guest of honour and an Honorary Awardee at the Conference, Emeritus Professor Ademola Segun of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, for his 1975 publication, which provided the platform for the research on GALS.

Speaking at the occasion, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Oluwafemi Olaiya Balogun, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Development, Professor Felix Salako, commended the organizers of the Conference for their pacesetting role, adding that their initiatives and the contributions of all other sectors of the University, had contributed in the current ranking of the institution as being 2nd in Nigeria and 35th in Africa..

The Vice-Chancellor noted that IFSERAR was the only research institute in Nigeria, whose activities covered the entire range of Agriculture, Food Security, Environmental Protection, Natural Resources Conservation, Engineering and Bioscience.
He said the University was aware of the importance of GAL, as an important sub-regional resource and thus started research in it since 1997 in the College of Animal Science and Livestock Production, which he said had so far produced five Ph.Ds, and Master’s Degree graduates and numerous undergraduate projects.

Professor Balogun attributed the inspiration that sparked-off the journey of the University into research on GALS to the publication by the Emeritus Professor Segun titled, “Dissection Guides of Common Tropical Animals: The Giant African Snail, Archtina (Calachatina) Marginata”.

He later presented, Emeritus Professor Segun with a Meritorious Award of Honour, as he called on participants at the Conference to use the forum to establish Nigeria as the leader in GAL’s research.