Insect-based aquafeed firm to expand in USD 10 million deal

Nutrition company AgriProtein has announced plans to build up to 200 factories globally to scale up production of its patented insect protein for animal feeds.

Founded in 2008, South Africa-based AgriProtein uses food waste to cultivate colonies of flies. It then uses the larvae of the flies to create MagMeal, which is marketed for fish aquaculture, and other products with agricultural uses. 

Its new deal with Austrian firm Christof Industries will create up to 25 fly farms annually, with 100 planned by 2024 and a further 100 scheduled to be built by 2027.

“The USD 10 million (EUR 9.4 million) partnership will help bring insect protein into the mainstream of feeds used in aquaculture, poultry farming and pet food,” AgriProtein said in a press release.

The new fly farms will be built in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas, according to the company. Each factory will house approximately 8.5 billion black soldier flies, will take in up to 250 tons of organic waste daily and will produce nearly 5,000 tonn of MagMeal, as well as and 2,000 tonnes of MagOil – an omega-rich oil for use in feeds – per year.

“Waste-to-nutrient technology is starting to get traction and price-per-ton is key in the fight to replace fishmeal,” AgriProtein CEO Jason Drew said. “Christof’s expertise has enabled us to boost output and reduce costs, making us even more competitive and giving us a sound model for rapid global expansion.”

AgriProtein has attracted interest from sustainability-minded nonprofits, including support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and WWF, and won awards including the Innovation Prize for Africa and the Australian government’s Blue Economy Challenge. Its solution for reducing waste to landfill earned the company a place in the 2017 Global Cleantech 100 list.

“Our mission is to find a better way to feed the world. Replacing fishmeal with insect meal in animal feed allows the oceans to heal and reduces greenhouse gases at every stage of the chain from point-of-catch to point-of-sale. It also helps solve the food security challenge and tackle the waste crisis,” Drew said. “But we need to move quickly, because the world is running out of fish. With increasing consumer demand for fish and poultry, the FAO has predicted demand for fishmeal will outpace supply by five million tons by 2024.”


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