Young entrepreneurs harnessing alternative protein as animal feed

From left to right_Benedict Okolie,Moses Katana and Aline Nishimwe during Ignite Africa awards ceremony in Addis Ababa_The group was awarded 100,000 USD for their animal feed project. / Courtesy.

The global animal feed supply business holds great potential in developing countries, many of them in Africa. 

This is among other things due to with the population growth and projections that the continent’s population (currently at one billion) is predicted to rise to 2.3 billion in less than 40 years.

 

With a growing number of mouths to feed, agriculture (especially livestock farming) is likely to become a booming industry in Africa’s future. To avoid hunger, Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that Africa will have to produce up to 60 percent more food by 2050.  

 

 It’s in this regard that four young entrepreneurs have stepped in to help fight hunger within the continent, by coming up with a company known as MagoFarm ltd.

 

The company breeds insects as an alternative protein source for animal feed formulators. 

Moses Katala from Tanzania, Benedict Okolie from Nigeria alongside Aline Nishimwe, Rwandan and Musa Shariff from Liberia have immersed themselves in making animal feeds known as Magomeal.

All four are enthusiasts of green technology.

Magomeal can be fed to all monogastric animals including fish, chicken, and pets.

 The four are still students at African Leadership University.

 Early last year, MagoFarm started off as a research project and was registered as a domestic company.

 Magomeal is purely made out of dried Black Soldiers Fly larvae.

 How they do it

 The group breeds Black-soldier flies for their larvae commercially as an alternative protein source for livestock feeds.

They do this in 2 steps; first is breeding Black soldier flies at their fly farm to mate lay eggs and produce larvae.

After, they allow the larvae to feed on organic waste and grow to a harvestable size (about 220 mg).

Within their facilities situated in Musanze, they dehydrate and dry the larvae, then package the larvae in sacks of 25 and 50 kg, ready for the client’s distribution. 

Reasons behind the business

Coming from agricultural background, the group was inspired by this to venture into the field.

 Katala, who is the CEO of the company, said all have a similar interesting background, where they spent a great deal of their lives raising poultry for survival.

“We understand the problems that poultry farmers face, including the high costs of feeds- and the impact it has on the families of impoverished poultry farmers,” he said.

 Their families, he said, have lived with the problem for over 15 years now, and they thought it was high time they pioneer a solution that works to address the problem.

However, he said this is not just for them, but for the 33 million smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.

“Our past experience in the poultry sector is the key inspiration to the founding of our company, he said.

Impact

Through the research conducted by the group on their innovation, they developed a product which contains 15 percent more nutritious protein than all other alternatives in the market, which is 20 per cent cheaper than other market options.

 The product has also proven to increase the yield of poultry by roughly 3.9 times compared to the current market alternatives.

According to the group, the business seeks to operate actively within the range of 3 sustainable development goals namely; poverty eradication, Zero hunger, and climate change.

 They are building this enterprise around models that will empower poultry farmers in Rwanda achieve an economic growth that’s inclusive to provide sustainable jobs and promote equality.

 This is by producing an animal feed protein that’s 20 per cent less expensive and 15 per cent more nutritious.

A kilogram of magomeal goes for RWF 400 while the existing ones in the market the price range from RWF 450 to 560.

 “We forecast that our business will multiply the yield of small-scale livestock farmers by more than 3.9 per cent and contribute significantly to reducing food insecurity in the country,” said Katana.

According to research by the group, Rwanda has roughly about 150,000 poultry farmers and several large animal feed manufacturers, all struggling with the costs and availability of proteins.

 The group said that they have the potential to provide a sustainable solution and serve this market unfailingly.

However, their goal in 4 years is to target at least 15 per cent of the total addressable market (22,500 farmers) and 4 animal feed manufacturing companies. 

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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