Traditionally, corn bran, silverfish, vegetables, grass, kitchen waste and a selected number of tubers have been the main material sources for livestock feed production.
Although it is well known that animals, birds and fish feed on insects such as earthworms, crickets and others that grow naturally in the environment, farmers and livestock feed manufacturers have not given serious attention to the large-scale production of such insects. feed sources.
The black soldier fly itself is rarely seen compared to the common house fly, but a search under any decaying material will reveal its maggot-like larvae at any time and break down the decaying material.
It is the worm-like larvae that have given rise to large-scale black soldier fly farmers like Talash Buijbers and farms like Mana Bio systems in Kenya, whose profiles are readily available online.
In Kampala, Marula Proteen Ltd at Wankoko in Bugoolobi and the Center for Insect Research and Development (CIRD) at Kawanda on the Kampala-Gulu highway are the largest large-scale black soldier fly farms in Uganda.
When they start
Tommie Hoof, CEO and founder of Marula Proteen, says that in 2020 they set up their breeding center at Wankoko Depot near Bugoolobi. Here, they get dried and ground larvae to make animal feed and eggs, sell them to farmers at P2,700 per kilogram, and start their own farm to increase the number of fly-rearing farmers.
“For now, the fodder is completely sold out. We dry the larvae and prepare animal feed with a mill. Animals prefer fodder because it is fatty. We sell full-fat meal for 4000 pounds and fat-free meal for 4500 pounds. We also make organic fertilizer, which we sell for £800 a kilo,” says Hoof.
According to him, in addition to not being able to meet the demand for animal feed, they are also not meeting the fertilizer demand of coffee, horticulture and avocado farmers who demand tons per week. As a result, they plan to expand to Jinja and Rwenzori region.
He adds that if someone owns a poultry slaughterhouse, they would be willing to set up a system next to such a facility because slaughterhouse waste provides excellent rearing and feeding materials for eggs and larvae.
The whole story behind this magical fly can only be well told at CIRD, found at Kawanda on the Kampala Gulu Highway, north of Kampala. Following his passion for insects, CIRD is another venture from his lecturing job at Makerere University.
The black soldier fly was one of the main insects selected for various benefits ranging from income generation to reducing environmental pollution.
First, he says he can make a profit by selling his dried larvae to feed pigs, poultry and fish. Second, it can also make pet food, and third, the by-product is a very good organic product because it is very rich in NPK and its value chain has many employment opportunities.
“In Kiteezi, we hire women to sort the food we buy from restaurant waste at P200 per kg, you can hire people who just collect eggs, hatch eggs and feed the larvae, make equipment, make cattle feed from BSF,” she says.
He explains that currently with a network of 310 farmers, the center provides all services including breeding of insects, production of nets, training of farmers and troubleshooting when problems arise.
BSF farming is a simple technology even for uneducated and cheap beginners, especially where organic waste is readily available.
How to catch eggs
To catch the eggs, he says, the farmer must mimic the behavior of the fly. “You take a bowl, put rotting bananas, an attractant like pig dung, and egg-collecting boards on top of the bowl. Make sure it is in a dry place and near a garbage disposal. Within four to five days, you will be able to observe the flies laying their eggs in the dry gaps between the trees where they collect the eggs. You can then collect these eggs, incorporate them into an organic substrate such as food waste, and within three to four days they will hatch into hatchlings (larvae or maggots). These can then be fed for 7-14 days and you harvest for cattle feed. BSF needs very good care,” he says.
He emphasizes that careful attention must be paid to larval feeding at this stage, as this will determine the size and quality of the larvae, which are very sensitive to food quality at this stage, such as salty or soapy food.
Asked how to make money from BSF farming, he said a farmer can make money by selling BSF eggs, which on average sell for Shs10,000 per gram. “One gram of eggs can produce between three and four kilograms of fresh BSF larvae which can be sold at Shs3,500 per kilogram. Dry larva can be sold for Shs4,000 per kilogram depending on how much one uses to mobilize waste,” says Dr Amulen.
The farmer can also sell the pupae at an average price of Shs15,000 per kilogram, but make sure you feed them well to maximize hatchability. “As for inputs for the business, we buy corn bran at Shs1,500 a kilogram, brewers waste at Shs140 and restaurant food waste at Shs200 a kilogram. To produce two kilograms of larvae, larvae need to be fed an average of three kilograms of food waste and brewer’s waste at a ratio of 2:1,” says Dr Amulen.