The black soldier fly may be smelly, but it is a nutritional powerhouse and eco-friendly ingredient in animal feed and fertilizer.
This is what entrepreneur Adan Mohamad discovered when he was pursuing his campus “side hustle” in feed manufacturing. In working with the traditional proteins used for animal feed, he saw that they were expensive and in low supply. The black soldier fly, however, could prove to be a more profitable alternative. Thus, in 2016 he began doing research and development, and in 2018 he took his enterprise, Ecodudu, to a larger scale.
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Ecodudu’s commitment to zero waste
Ecodudu is quite remarkable in that they aim to mitigate waste at every step of their operations. To begin with, they feed the black soldier flies food waste that comes from nearby hotels, universities, and other institutions. As the black soldier fly begins as larvae before turning itself into a fly, the shells that are left over in the process are used to make organic fertilizer. Some of the larvae are converted to protein for animal feed using a solar dryer, which is an eco-friendly method of drying than maintains nutrients. The remaining larvae are blossomed into flies in order to reproduce.
Ecodudu receives incubation from KCIC to help the community
Since becoming KCIC clients in 2017, they have benefited from the mentorship program and assistance in finding partnerships. Specifically, their mentor help them work on their business plan, arrears process, and strategies for dealing with waste. They also developed a partnership with Emerging Capital Partners (ECP), a pan-African private equity firm.
In their scaling up process, Ecodudu has been able to benefit the community in a variety of ways. Firstly, they have created employment for 6 people. They have also been working with the Rockefeller Foundation to provide farmers with black soldier fly eggs, who are subsequently paid to return them once they are ready to harvest. In this way, Ecodudu is able to increase farmers’ incomes. Furthermore, the animal feed protein and fertilizer help farmers boost their yields as well as help with pest control.
Black soldier fly animal feed and fertilizer benefit the environment
Additionally, Ecodudu is benefiting the environment through their operations. They confront the issue of food waste by feeding the larvae food scraps from local institutions.
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Secondly, the omena fish that is typically used for protein in animal feed is going down in supply due to overuse. This is not only harmful for the ecosystem but also means that the price of animal feed is increasing. By substituting omena with the black soldier fly, Ecodudu is able to mitigate these problems.
Furthermore, their organic solutions are healthier for the animals as well as the soil, as typical nitrogen-based fertilizers contribute to climate change.
Finally, as mentioned, the enterprise is committed to zero waste in that all of the byproducts of their processes are repurposed or value added.
Ecodudu’s vision for the future
Ecodudu is looking forward to continued assistance from KCIC, specifically with increasing their ability to collect waste from local institutions as well as automating their operations. Ultimately, they hope to continue expanding their business in order to benefit more farmers while maintaining their no-waste approach.
By: Alise Brillault