SPAIN – Moroccan snails, renowned for their superior quality and flavor, are becoming a highly coveted delicacy in Andalusia, Spain.

In 2023, the southern Spanish region imported 5,000 tons of snails from Morocco, valued at 3.8 million euros (US$4.2M), according to the Andalusian Ministry of Agriculture.

Data from the ministry reveals that in the first two months of 2024 alone, Andalusia’s snail imports from Morocco reached 248,000 euros (US$269,000), marking an 88% increase from the same period the previous year.

This surge underscores Morocco’s growing prominence in Andalusia’s snail market, especially when compared to Spain’s own production of 605,500 kilograms of snails last year, as noted by the Spanish National Association of Snail Breeding and Fattening (Ancec).

Morocco’s snails are filling a significant gap in Spain’s domestic market, which consumed an estimated 18,800 tons in 2020, with consumption already rising last year.

Despite these imports, Andalusia continues to host a number of snail farms.

As of last month, 211 snail farms are registered, with Seville leading with 54 farms, followed by Córdoba (42), Málaga (28), Granada (27), Huelva and Almería (19 each), Cádiz (17), and Jaén (5).

However, the Ministry of Agriculture acknowledges that some of these farms may have ceased operations.

A 2020 study by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture reveals the difficulty in accurately tracking active snail farms, noting that only one-third of registered farms in Andalusia were operational at the time.

This figure excludes an additional 100 farms nationwide whose status was unclear. The Ministry relies on Ancec data to better represent these figures.

Jose Antonio Marcelo, executive secretary of the Interprofessional Organization of Farm-Raised Snails, notes that farm owners are eligible for subsidies requiring active land use for at least five years.

Reporting inactivity risks losing these subsidies, leading some owners to maintain their farms nominally. 

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