DR Congo: Larval rearing, a new solution for food security, the environment and the economy

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For several months, Murhula Zigabe has been raising black soldier flies in Bukavu, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The fly larvae feed on food scraps and are themselves used by local herders to feed fish, chickens and pigs. Cheaper than traditional animal protein, Zigabe believes these insects can help tackle food insecurity in the region.

In 2018, Zigabe created the company Briquette of Kivu, producing eco-friendly charcoal from organic waste collected from the streets or households, such as corn cobs and banana peels. It is an environmentally friendly substitute for commonly used charcoal, which contributes to deforestation.

“Each year, the DR Congo spends about 2 billion dollars to import food for humans and animals. But a large part is not even consumed and ends up in the trash’

Not all food scraps can be used to make eco-friendly charcoal, such as rotting fruits and vegetables. The entrepreneur decided to use these remains to feed black soldier fly larvae, which he began rearing in April 2021.

Black soldier flies do not bite or eat: they only drink water and lay eggs which we collect. When they hatch, we get larvae, which we feed with the collected waste: peels of orange, mango, papaya, etc. Two weeks later, the larvae are large and very rich in protein. They can then be used to feed fish, chickens and pigs.

As the world’s population and demand for protein continue to grow, insect protein can “contribute to human and animal food security”, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Insects are everywhere, they reproduce quickly, they are nutritious and their production has a low environmental impact, compared to vegetable proteins such as soy.

This week on The Observers [see video above] we spoke to Zigabe about his grub project and how it helps farmers in his area, both economically and environmentally.

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