Insect farming is here and it is about to completely change our agriculture system, thanks to a fly farm in Cape Town, South Africa called AgriProtein. They produce protein-rich animal feed from fly larvae. Cool! So you can farm insects for feed… but how is this going to save agriculture?
Well according to the USDA, aquaculture feed is made with
“ingredients including fish, plant, and processing waste meals and oils.”
Plant-based feeds are derived from corn and soy-beans. This not only requires large inputs of fertilizer and pesticides, but uses large amounts of water and energy. Then this plant material must be processed into a useable form for the fish. Because plant material does not have sufficient quantities of vitamins and minerals required for the rapid growth required (and carnivorous fish dislike it), it is often supplemented with fish-derived ingredients.
The fish ingredients are usually either bycatch from the marine industry, or trimmings from processing fish, including fish oil. These ingredients are highly nutritious and therefore are highly sought after by animal feeding operations (cattle, chicken, fish).
This increasing demand by the agriculture industry coupled with the many other benefits of fish oil have increased the demand for this product around the world. Overfishing is a major problem for our oceans and is destroying ecosystems worldwide.
The problem is that the ingredients used in animal feeds are unsustainable. They requires heavy inputs of energy, take up valuable land, and are destroying our ecosystems. As scientists around the world began exploring other options, many found insects could become the source for livestock protein.
BUT, the best part about the approach by AgriProtein, is that they use a waste-product from the abattoir industry: blood.
Flies are fed protein-rich blood, normally a waste product. Here’s what they have to say,
“Using different processes and fly families, AgriProtein has developed larvae of naturally different chemical and mineral composition. These minerals are bio-available to the animals eating them. This opens up the possibility of creating a whole range of speciality feed preparations targeted at specific lifestages of industrially farmed livestock.”
This natural food source recycles a waste product and eliminates the need to use increasingly expensive plant and fish based feed. It will also provide our livestock with a larger variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other biochemicals making them healthier ultimately providing US with healthier food!
- Fly Farming: New Source Of Food For Fish (underpaidgenius.com)
- The Truth About Eggs – What Commercial Egg Farmers Don’t Want You to Know (articles.mercola.com)
- Five hundred million flies (blogs.abc.net.au)