Creating a Circular Economy using Flies (Guest Author: Toivo Thomas)

Progress Namibia - Creating a Circular Economy using Flies (Guest Author: Toivo Thomas)
02 December 2016

Modern society produces enormous volumes of organic waste on a daily basis stemming from agriculture, breweries, food industries, as well animal manure. This waste is then accumulated and dumped in landfills, burnt, or dealt with in other environmentally damaging ways. What if these organic materials could be re-used in society?

In addition, in Namibia, poultry and fish farming suffer from the increasing costs of feed, especially protein ingredients such as soy, maize and fishmeal. These protein sources are becoming increasingly limited due to the volatile weather which has and still is negatively affecting Southern Africa. Drought spells have resulted in a decline in farming output and a sustained price increase in raw commodities such as soy and maize. These price increases can be seen in the increased price of consumer staple foods and the rising costs of animal feeds. Further to the environmental and price issues affecting Namibia, the country’s animal feed industry also heavily relies on imports from neighbours such as South Africa and Zambia to supply protein sources that are used in poultry, swine and fish farming operations.

ven the worrying drought trend affecting the region, farmers and food producers need access to new methods and technologies in order to safeguard their farming operations and livelihoods as well as increase the benefit they and their communities accrue from their businesses.

Agricycle Namibia, owned by three young Namibians; John Lush (24), Gunter Rust (29) and myself (25), has developed a system that will address both the environmental problems and animal feed deficiency issues affecting Namibia and the region at large. The system seeks to facilitate the conversion of organic waste into resourceful by-products by using the larvae of Hermetia illucens, commonly known as the Black Soldier Fly (BSF). The organic waste converted by the larvae of BSF is transformed from a nuisance, concentrated waste, to an affordable, safe and sustainable protein meal for animal feed.

Insects are a natural food source for poultry and fish and are rich in protein and other valuable nutrients. They can also be used to improve animal diets through the replacement of synthetic protein sources such as urea. The rearing of the BSF is hence a viable alternative protein source for animal feed in Namibia and Africa. The feeding studies conducted so far have confirmed that the palatability and chemical safety of animal feed meals containing BSF is safe and viable . An additional by-product of the process will be an organic fertilizer for crop production, and bio-oil. If you are interested or know any farmers who would like to learn more visit our website at

About our Guest Author
Toivo Thomas has an academic background and experience in the fields of agriculture, ecology and medical biology. He is one of the Directors of Agricycle, along with John Rush and Gunter Rust. Their inspiration to start this business stemmed from a collective interest in farming chicken and livestock, environmental sustainability and reducing the cost of animal feed.

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