Explain your project in details:
We aim to produce animal feed sustainably using Black soldier fly insect larvae bred on an industrial scale as the protein source. We breed these larvae using organic waste as the substrate. We then process these larvae into powder form which we mix with other animal feed ingredients like maize to form a final compound feed. The remains of the substrate used for breeding the larvae are solar dried and processed into organic fertilizer for crops. Animal feed is expensive due to lack of sufficient protein. In East Africa protein takes up to 75% the cost of feeds. Conventional protein sources for animal feed such as fish meal & oil seeds have been drastically depleted due to over fishing & climate change factors respectively. In the last 5 years over 50% of small scale poultry & fish farmers in East Africa have quit business due to expensive feeds caused by low protein supply. Through my project of using insect larvae as a protein source, we can sustainably bring down the cost of feeds by up to 30%. We help solve a feeds supply problem, a waste management problem as well as conserve the environment.
Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development
Through my project we can sustainably bring down the cost of animal feed by up to 30%. Over 50% of small scale poultry and fish farmers in East Africa have quit business in the last 5 years due to expensive feeds that have rendered their enterprises unprofitable. By providing stably priced affordable feed we create a direct incentive for both new and old farmers to increase their incomes. In collaboration with a organization which skills and trains farmers on good farming practices called AFRISA (www.afrisa-africa.org) , we shall collect and analyse quantitative data of our beneficiaries cash flows before and after participating in the pilot project. An increase in the income shall be an indicator and measure of the impact of our innovation
Sustainability and future plans
Currently our financing source is through partner contributions. In East Africa over 75% of agricultural produce is credited to small scale women farmers. Women produce the bulk of agricultural produce but receive the least of the proceeds of their endeavors. Our venture has a 2 tier revenue system with 2 customer segments: 1. Small scale women farmers clustered into cooperative groups: Our organization is using a different approach by giving credit in the form of inputs (animal feeds and crop fertilizer) which enables small scale women farmers produce more and improve on their income. This new business model focuses on providing inputs that cannot be diverted easily. Organizations such as BRAC-Uganda give small loans to women which are meant to be used for buying feeds for livestock production. In certain cases these loan funds are not managed well making it hard to improve the productivity of these small scale farms. Up to 80% of animal husbandry costs are attributed to feeds purchase and we believe it is more sustainable to offer feeds instead of cash. We aim to support the women with a 4-round feed credit as they save with us to be able to pay for their fifth round of feed purchases. Women pay up their feed debt after selling their enterprise products. We however do not deal with the women on individual basis but through their cooperative group structure that handles the beneficiaries. Secondly we will sell to retailers. The quota we sell to retailers is enough to buffer the amount of feeds provided to the women groups on credit, hence the quotas sold to the retailers provides sufficient cash flow for the business.
Your profile as an entrepreneur
I am 32 years old and I am passionate about sustainable agri-business. It is my goal to drive change in my community by showing the youth especially that, to engage in long term agri-business one must be mindful of the environmental eco-system and climate change. My current thoughts are driven by an adversity I faced 5 years ago as a poultry farmer where I had to close (due to negligible profits) my business due to expensive feeds which were due mainly to the high price of protein ingredients. I then ventured into fish farming where I faced the same feed challenge. This time round however I decided not to quit business but find a solution to the feeds challenge. I decided to research/explore an alternative source protein for animal feed use. Through my humble project of producing animal feed using insect larvae as the protein source, I have so far achieved some recognition e.g Finalist TOTAL startup of the Year Award 2016 (http://petrolage-group.com/list-of-total-startupper-finalists/) Finalist African Entrepreneurship Award 2016 (https://africanentrepreneurshipaward.com/andy-acon/) Finalist World Food Programme, Global Impact Challenge to address Hunger 2017 (http://innovation.wfp.org/news/GIC-finalists)