South Africa is building a huge factory to farm millions of flies that will spend their days gorging on food industry leftovers such as animal manure, blood, and brains from abattoirs. The $3.7m facility will be located in Stellenbosch, in the country’s Western Cape province, and provide food for farmed fish that will ultimately feed people.
When the factory opens in spring 2014, thousands of common houseflies, black soldier flies and bluebottles will be kept in large cages and fattened up on sugar, yeast and milk powder. Each female – which can lay 750 eggs or more – will be kept there to breed the next generation. The remaining eggs will be moved to a waste conversion center, where they will hatch into larvae and gorge themselves.
With half of the world’s fish now living in farms, and wild fish populations on the decline, the price of fishmeal has doubled in 30 years to around $2,000 per ton. Each 1kg of farmed salmon requires 3kg of fishmeal, jumping to nearly 20kg for each 1kg of tuna. The larvae that will devour the food industry leftovers can multiply their body weight almost 400 times in as little as three days, making them an excellent alternative for fishmeal.
The aim is clean up more waste locally, and make the food chain more sustainable. By October 2014, Agriprotein, the company that conceived the project aims to take in 110 tonnes of waste per day at the plant and churn out 17 tonnes of wet larvae. While it won’t be nearly enough to meet the anticipated demand from local farmers and fish farmers, it’s a huge step forward for creating a more sustainable food chain.
A second and third factory are already planned, which should open before the end of 2014 and 2015 respectively. If the idea proves successful, the company will then start to license the technology to as many as 30 other countries worldwide that could replicate the model to produce their own fishmeal.
Via The Guardian