Stories by Steve Agbota [email protected] 08033302331
Maggot farming has come to stay because it has moved from its primitive stage where it was only an activity and hobby, to what it is today – a line of business.
With the growing cost of animal feed, maggots are beginning to become a thriving business as experts say that African entrepreneurs have huge opportunity to make millions from it. Maggots come from flies. When flies lay eggs, the eggs pass through several stages before they turn into flies.
Research has shown that as a matter of fact, maggots can be a good and suitable substitute for soybeans and fishmeal, which are core ingredients in animal feed. Maggots can be used to feed fish, poultry birds, ducks, pigs, ostrich, guinea fowl and other animals.
Investigation by Daily Sun revealed that a company in South Africa called AgriProtein, the pioneer of maggot farming, set up the world’s largest fly farm, propelling the use of insects as livestock feed beyond academic theory to a commercial venture where they extract maggots to produce feed.
In South Africa today, they no longer use fishmeal to prepare feed for livestock because they have estimated that if they continue to catch fish from the sea, by 2020 or 2025, fishes may go into extinction as consumers’ demand for livestock keep increasing. At the recent first Insects to Feed World Conference, held in Wageningen, Netherlands, scientists revealed that insects promise to be an economically viable alternative source of high-quality livestock protein that leave a substantially smaller environmental footprint. They also emphasised the need to lessen the drain on the planet’s resources by decreasing consumption of expensive and unsustainable animal protein feeds as the human population is growing.
But in Nigeria, the new business opportunity is yet to be explored as people are still doubting it. But the truth is that there is money in maggots farming and it needs a little capital of between N35,000 and N40,000 to start after receiving training from an expert. Today, one of the biggest challenges facing livestock farming is cost of feed, hence, the best alternative to cut cost is rearing of maggots to feed the poultry birds and animals.
Speaking with Daily Sun, Richard Agbugba of Waste2Wealth Initiatives, a division of Rina Ventures, in Abuja, said there is need for farmers to embrace maggots’ farming because it would remove about 75 per cent cost of production both in fish and poultry farming.
According to him, there is money in maggots’ farming because from Colorado to South Africa, the maggot market is heating up and helping solve the problem of ever soaring high cost of fish and soybean meals, which are the two most important ingredients in poultry, pork and fish feed production.
He added: “So instead of incurring these huge costs, some forward looking entrepreneurs are turning to maggots’ farming through a technically designed self-harvesting bin – no mess, no smell! In the maggot bin, female flies lay about 500 eggs apiece daily. This produces an army of hungry larvae that eat their way through mounds of food waste. And they do eat fast! 1kg of fly eggs produces 380kg of larvae protein in just three days!
“There is no way one will keep up with demand if venturing into this lucrative business. For instance, a 25kg bag of poultry feed costs N4,000 or more. Imagine producing five-10 bags of magmeal (maggot meal) for a start! Even if one decides to sell at N2,500 per bag knowing that the maggots cost nothing to produce, the person is heading towards making millions in a few months.”
He said that few things trigger repulsion like the sight of maggots writhing through rotten food or decomposing road kill, adding that maggots, which are the larvae stage of houseflies and other related insects, are actually one of nature’s unsung heroes.
However, he described the golden creatures as the future heroes that could help save the world by recycling waste nutrients and generating sustainable protein. In chicken and fish production, he said maggot protein has been shown to produce better weight gain and less gizzard erosion.
He said the feed from maggot is more nutritious and helps pigs and chickens grow faster and bigger, which is what they are exploring now in South Africa. Other countries are even inviting South Africa to come and replicate what they have done in their country.
He said: “Here in Nigeria, it’s like a new concept and people still doubt it but the truth is that we are doing it and we are benefiting from it. But when people start coming for training, let them see and believe. People who have undergone training are now giving testimonies that it is real. That is why we are in the maggots’ farming business because we want to leverage on the vast opportunities available in the agriculture industry to contribute our quota in growing the Nigerian economy, and to export maggots from Nigeria to other countries and make profit.”