Bugs Are Good for Chickens, Economies and The Environment.
“I want to use more available, affordable and sustainable feed resources to replace fish meal in the diets of chickens,” said Dr. Muyiwa Adegbenro, Senior Lecturer in Poultry Nutrition and Management, Federal University, Akure, Nigeria.
While live insects such as black solider fly larvae have been shown to be a nutritious and cost-effective replacement for soybean meal for chickens (they love to eat most bugs), this project has explored novel ways to grow, process, and package homegrown larvae so they can be viable, up-scalable replacements for fish meal.
Dr. Adegbenro’s project is one of the finalists for the 2021 Olam Prize for Innovation in Food Security, which aims to support scientific research that can deliver transformational impacts within global agriculture. Awarded in partnership with Agropolis Fondation, the Prize recognises an innovative scientific research project for its potential impact on the availability, accessibility, affordability and adequacy of food, in line with UN SDG#2: End Hunger. The winner will be announced this September and receive a US$75,000 grant for scaling up their proven research.
Currently, estimates show that feed cost contributes as much as 75% of the total cost of poultry production in sub-Saharan Africa, and food waste and processing residues are one component of the organic waste stream that is currently estimated at 1.3 billion tons annually. Black soldier flies are small, harmless insects that have the potential to provide promising solutions to both problems.
“Starting with organic waste in which those larvae thrive, our environmental biotechnologist studied ways to reliably produce them,” Dr. Adegbenro explained.
“Once harvested, they’re processed in a low-temperature dryer that we’ve designed and fabricated, and then added to a variety of different diets to test for rearing broiler chickens, laying hens, chicks and turkeys. We’re looking closely at growth, blood and serum indices, meat quality and – where appropriate – egg quality.”
“Our ambition for the project is to be able to make black soldier larvae meal available and affordable in large quantities for feed millers and poultry farmers in Nigeria. This will reduce the cost of finished feeds for poultry birds, generate more revenue for farmers and feed millers, create jobs for youth and women, increase meat and egg availability/affordability, and reduce the problem of environmental pollution. The indirect impacts will be to strengthen the current Federal Government policy to reduce the reliance on imports for animal production.”
If you’d like to know more about this project or get involved, please contact. Dr. Muyiwa Adegbenro, below.
Dr. Muyiwa Adegbenro
Division of Animal Production and Management,
Department of Animal Production and Health,
Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria.