Dutch group, IITA Business Incubation Platform, Train Stakeholders In Insect Farming
As part of efforts towards achieving food security and sustainability in Nigeria and Africa , New Generation Nutrition (NGN), Netherlands and the Business Incubation Platform of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA-BIP) are organizing a 4-day Training of Trainers on Black Soldier Fly (BSF) farming.
Naijanewshub.com.ng reports that the training, being organized under the Insect4Feed Project, is aimed at preparing a group of trainers who will further train entrepreneurs in Black Soldier Fly farming which is being regarded as a cheaper and alternative source of fish and poultry feed.
The Insects4Feed Impact cluster, funded by the Netherlands government, is targeted at addressing the growing need for a local, sustainable and affordable animal protein source for the fish and poultry feed industry in Nigeria and creating job and income opportunities in the insect farming value chain.
The NGN, a social enterprise in insect sector development in the Netherlands and African countries, is the lead partner responsible for implementing the project while IITA BIP is responsible for the project’s training and entrepreneurship development component.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of IITA BIP, Dr Debo Akande, the Insect4Feed Project will reduce the cost of poultry and fish farming by creating cheaper, local and alternative feeds while also creating jobs in the insect farming value chain.
“One of the main challenges in the livestock sector in Nigeria is the high cost of feed and this is driving a lot of poultry and fish farms out of business. And this is contributing to the high cost of livestock products and animal protein sources available to the people. While about 75 per cent of fish feed in Nigeria are imported, the country spends around $60 million yearly to import fish.
“This training marks the beginning of the development of sustainable business models with insects through research and education. As a partner in the Insect4Feed project, IITA BIP is focused on helping BSF farmers and entrepreneurs build profitable businesses in BSF farming through training, capacity development and advisory services. This will help grow the livestock industry, contribute to employment, improve food security and protect the environment by creating utilization of organic wastes.
According to John Amole, the Nigeria Project Lead for NGN, the product of interest in BSF farming is the larvae which is used as animal feed. The larvae is rich in proteins, that can be fed to chickens, pig and fish.
“The black soldier fly is a common tropical fly species. Unlike some other insects or the regular house flies, black soldier flies are not pests, they do not transmit diseases and they are not poisonous. They do not sting or bite. Rather, they are beneficial to man and the ecosystem as they act as decomposers, , recyclers, and scavengers.”
He explained that there are two routes in the insect farming business – Production and Reproduction, saying “ Production – only involves rearing the larvae, the farmer purchases the eggs or young larvae from other breeders and raises them into harvest-ready larvae.
“In reproduction, the farmer goes through the full life cycle and let the black soldier flies produce eggs for a new population of larvae. He only purchases the starting population once.
The resource person at the event , Mr Cies Roskam from ProEnto, one of the partners on the project, said the programme is aimed at achieving a platform where small holder farmers, poultry and fish farmers and insect entrepreneurs can be trained to produce black soldier fly and contribute to reduction in cost of feeds and also to provide natural ingredients for their animals reducing the need for alternatives like soya and other sources that are being used livestock production.
“I will like to contribute to the fact that what we are doing with insect production in countries into soya or fish meal, we are not using resources, we don’t need land to produce proteins , we don’t need fertilizers, pesticides and water , it’s a natural process of using natural nutrients that are in our organic food waste , organic byproducts from agricultural activities basically converting them into something useful such as biogas facilities for composting or even land filling”. he added.
One of the participants who is a lecturer in the Department of Agric Extension of the university of Ibadan as well as the coordinator of the insects for Feed programme in the institution, Mr Kehinde Thomas stated that as an extension practitioner who works directly with farmers, his duty is to disseminate right technology that is going to better their lives. And in this context, the issue protein components are very paramount in poultry and fish production in Nigeria as quite a number of things that have limited farmers are the protein components.
“For me , coming here is to ensure that this is disseminated to the end users because in most cases where you have a fine technology, it just ends on the shelve but with this , we are going to take it to farmers and to ensure that it is replicated and that is going to better the lives of farmers.
He urged government to buy into some of the technologies, reduce cost of production, embark on training and retraining of staff within the ministry and also to engage more farmers adding that “a nation without farmers and agriculture, is writing a letter to a dimed future”.
Other partners on the project include the University of Ibadan, the Netherlands-African Business Council, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Quality Insects for Food and Feed Association in Nigeria