Producing nutritious animal feeds from black solder fly larvae
Working with a database of over 300 farmers, Eric Mbugua the director of BSFL organics established the business in 2016. When he started, he would outsource processing which was costly. Last year he was able to establish his own processing facility in Lower Kabete, Nairobi. The company produces one tonne per week of the dairy meal which requires 190 kilograms of the black soldier fly larvae (BSFL).
The maggots take one week to create a colony. The production of larvae is more economical due to its capacity for large scale production as a result of the nature of their re-production.
They produce organic fertilizer and animal feeds using black solder fly larvae which are able to convert the organic waste into NPK fertilizer that can be used as a soil conditioner or fertilizer by farmers who prefer organically grown produce. They also dry the larvae and convert them into pellets for animal feeds for poultry, fish and pigs. BSFL is rich in minerals, proteins, vitamins and a high source of energy.
The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) trains farmers on how to rear the BSFL which then Eric buys from the farmers to produce dairy meal for farmers in Kahawa Sukari, Kahawa Wendani and Ruiru.
“Dairy meal is expensive because of the fish meal and soy cake. Using BSFL brings down the cost as the meal is relatively cheaper and more nutritious with 60% protein content,” notes Eric.
Eric adds that being in the incubation programme at KCIC has helped him shape his website and exposed him to many networking opportunities. The mentorship has assisted him in prioritizing his operations to first focus on the success of one product.
Some of the challenges the business is facing is transport of the dairy meal. Eric notes that the distance from his facility to the farmers is a challenge as he has to hire a vehicle during delivery. The other challenge is getting starting capital to train farmers and provide samples of the product.
Their main customers are mostly Agrovet in areas of Kikuyu and Thika. They also target animal feed manufacturers who use their production replacement of inputs like fish meal and soya beans concentrate which are very expensive since most of them are imported into the local market. They also sell live black solder larvae to large scale poultry farmers. Eric plans to expand to calf grow, poultry and pig feeds.
Picture courtesy: Mary Mwendwa- talkafrica.co.ke
By Mercy Mumo