DR Congo: Cultivating larvae a new solution for food safety, the environment and the economy

For several months now, Murhula Zigabe has been breeding black soldier flies in Bukavu, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The fly larvae feed on food waste and are themselves used by local breeders to feed fish, chickens and pigs. Cheaper than traditional animal proteins, Zigabe believes these insects can help fight food insecurity in the region.

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

‘Every year, DR Congo spends about $ 2 billion to import food for humans and animals. But much of it is not even consumed and ends up in the garbage ‘All food waste can not be used to make eco-carbon, such as rotten fruits and vegetables. The entrepreneur decided to use these leftovers to feed black soldier fly larvae, which he began breeding 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 that we feed with the collected waste: orange, mango, papaya shell, 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 protein demand continue to grow, insect protein can “contribute to food safety for humans and animals”, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Insects are everywhere, they multiply rapidly, they are nutritious and their production has a low environmental impact, compared to plant proteins such as soy.

This week on The Observers [see video above] we talked to Zigabe about his caterpillar project and how it helps farmers in his region, both financially and environmentally.

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