As urbanisation and industrialisation rapidly grow in the country, the risk of increased air pollution and other environmental threats come along.
Meanwhile, only 10 per cent of waste are treated and turned into revenue productive forms such as manure, briquettes, and energy across the country.
In efforts to solve this, Dominique Xavio Imbabazi is breeding different types of insects to produce smart bio-waste, as a move reduce untreated waste.
The 28-year-old breeds insects and worms such as earthworms, red worms, black soldier flies, and grasshoppers purposely to promote sustainable agriculture and environmental protection through smart bio -waste management and production of quality animal feed.
Imbabazi presents his project on vermicompost at University of Rwanda.
He explained that vermicompost from earthworms and compost from other insects is not harmful, but rather eco-friendly.
Vermi-compost is the product of the decomposition process using various species of worms, usually red wigglers, white worms, and earthworms, to create a mixture of decomposing vegetable or food waste, bedding materials, and vermicast.
After collecting compost from different dump sites, he sorts them out for the insects to live, feed on and breed.
After feeding on them, the insects breed and produce waste (smart bio-waste).
These compost is later used as fertilizers, and for quality animal feeds.
He noted that scientifically, it has been proven that vermi-compost and compost from worms and insects have more benefits compared to industrial fertilisers.
For instance, he mentioned that vermi-compost, when used, improves the physical-chemical properties of the soil, prevents leaching and also promotes sustainable agriculture.
“The breeding is basically for biotechnologically transforming bio-waste into bio-fertilszers and to make animal feeds for fish, chicken, and pigs,” he said.
The fertilizers, he said are highly rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) and Micro-Nutrients than any other fertiliser.
At the same time, the animal feeds from the insects are rich in proteins and crude oils that are more essential for the growth, reproduction, and production capacity increase of fish, chicken and pig.
For the grasshoppers, he said he breeds them for human food as they contain more than 70 percent of the protein that the human body needs, which he believes can help solve the problems of malnutrition the country is still facing.
How he got here
In 2016, during his last year at University undertaking a waste management course, he inquired from his lecturer if worms could be used in biowaste management.
“Through research, I found out that worms are used for a wide range of purposes and I wondered if they can as well used in the soil for other purposes, the lecturer gave me the go-ahead to start putting my idea into practice,” he said.
He added that in Northern Province where he hails from, more than 80 percent are farmers with a majority of them having challenges in fertilisers usage, citing that they don’t have a technique to use to produce quality organic fertilisers.
These, coupled with his curiosity to know more about other benefits of worms, led to the birth of the insect breeding business known as Golden Insect.
The business is located in Musanze District.
“It has proved how much insects are good for smart community projects, whereby I show them how they can help in managing home bio-waste without emitting greenhouse gases,” he said.
This, he noted that contributes to greenhouses gases sequestration and reduction in global warming.
Imbabazi sells insects, vermi-composts and compost and at the same time provides feeds to other animals.
His business produced feed for fish, chicken, and pig.
The entrepreneur has been able to showcase his products at National Agriculture show over the last two years consecutively.
However, he pointed out that there is a need for partner with potential investors and fund managers to propel the business to a higher level, in order for him to make an impactful contribution to both the community and the country.