Stricken farm­ers to take fly-er with feed

In­sects hold the an­swer to food se­cu­rity in drought-hit prov­ince

Cape Argus - - NEWS - Ru­sana Phi­lan­der

THE ORDINARY house­fly has flown to the res­cue of drought-stricken Philippi farm­ers by meet­ing the grow­ing de­mand for an­i­mal feed in the Western Cape and will also boost food se­cu­rity in the coun­try.

The drought in the prov­ince has caused a short­age of feed for live­stock. Ac­cord­ing to AgriProtein, a fly farm in Philippi, the fa­cil­ity has so far cre­ated 150 jobs in the com­mu­ni­ties of Mitchells Plain and Philippi. The num­ber was ex­pected to in­crease sub­stan­tially when ad­di­tional pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties were es­tab­lished.

Ja­son Drew, chief ex­ec­u­tive of AgriProtein, said there was a grow­ing de­mand from an­i­mal-feed sup­pli­ers for a nat­u­ral and cost-ef­fec­tive al­ter­na­tive to fish meal, which was widely used in the poul­try and fish farm­ing in­dus­tries. We are rapidly ex­pand­ing glob­ally.

“Our aim is to build a net­work of 100 in­sect pro­tein fac­to­ries by 2024 and 200 by 2027, sup­ply­ing the $100 bil­lion aquafeed mar­ket. We are build­ing fac­to­ries in Saudi Ara­bia, the US, South Amer­ica and Africa, as well as one in Aus­trala­sia,” he said.

Drew said one of their con­cerns was how the rapid growth of the world pop­u­la­tion is af­fect­ing nat­u­ral re­sources. “We con­trib­ute to the pro­tec­tion of the fish­ing in­dus­try. The world con­sumes more fish than it can pro­duce and fish stocks glob­ally are rapidly de­clin­ing. Fish are also used to feed chick­ens. But there are other foods such as grains, in­sects and mag­gots that have the same quan­tity of pro­teins and could re­lieve the pres­sure on the fish stocks,” Drew said.

Min­is­ter of Science and Tech­nol­ogy Naledi Pan­dor said the AgriProtein fly-farm could boost food se­cu­rity. “Funded by the Depart­ment of Science and Tech­nol­ogy through its en­tity, the Tech­nol­ogy In­no­va­tion Agency, AgriProtein has al­ready cre­ated 150 jobs. AgriProtein uses tech­nol­ogy that con­verts waste into nu­tri­ents used for an­i­mal feed. It is a pi­o­neer in the emerg­ing waste-to-nu­tri­ent in­dus­try, which seeks to put the world’s grow­ing or­ganic waste moun­tain, es­ti­mated to top 1 bil­lion tons by 2025, to good use in im­prov­ing food se­cu­rity.”

Pan­dor also said in­sect meal was a more sus­tain­able al­ter­na­tive than fish meal, with the pro­duc­tion process also di­vert­ing large vol­umes of or­ganic waste from land­fills to feed the lar­vae, which grow into the mag­gots used for the in­sect meal. “The growth of small busi­nesses was cen­tral to cre­at­ing new, sus­tain­able jobs. This must there­fore be seen as a pri­or­ity,” she added.

PICTURE: CHRIS COLLINGRIDGE

NEW BUZZ: The com­mon house­fly of­fers a live­stock feed so­lu­tion to drought-hit farm­ers in the Western Cape.

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