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AgriProtein to set up world’s first fly farm in South Africa

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded firm AgriProtein has announced to establish world’s first commercial fly farm in South Africa as part of a project to produce sustainable feed for fish from fly larvae

According to AgriProtein, its MagMeal product can replace costly fishmeal by a sustainable, natural source of protein for farmed animals as well as eliminate garbage.

Jason Drew, co-founder of AgriProtein, said that the company has raised US$11mn to build its first commercial farm, which will house 8.5bn flies. This facility will be the first in a series of 40 such farms to be developed in South Africa.

"AgriProtein has an agreement with Cape Town’s waste disposal agency, which will help them to deal with the garbage of a city of four million inhabitants,” added Drew.

The process is based on common flies laying their eggs on garbage. These eggs rapidly turn into larvae, eating the waste as they grow. It is calculated that one kilogramme of eggs becomes 380 kg of larvae in just three days, revealed Drew.

“After a few days, before they become flies, the larvae are collected, washed and pressurised into MagMeal, becoming feed for fish farms,” he noted.

The business is also supported by private companies such as Australia’s Twynam Group and Germany’s s.Oliver, said Drew.