Insects for Impact – Desert Locust as Feed and Fertiliser
The Bug Picture harnesses the power of insects to convert organic waste to a sustainable alternative protein and bio fertilizer that is locally produced and competitively priced in the market.
Overview of the project
Desert locust as a crop: since December 2019, East Africa has been experiencing an unprecedented desert locust upsurge. With support from The Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA,) The Bug Picture has been testing community-based harvesting, and processing of locusts for use as the protein input in animal feed and biofertilizer.
This project is a result of the successful Community Empowered Locust Upcycling Project (CELUP,) which proved that communities would harvest locusts that were on their land overnight, that these locusts can be processed into protein rich locust meal, which can be used to create quality animal feed, and that locusts sprayed with chemical insecticide can be converted in organic fertiliser to return the locusts high nitrogen levels to the soil.
Through this new project, we will be able to warn farmers that locusts are imminent on their land, and teach them how to benefit from the locusts by personally processing them into locust meal and organic fertiliser.
Turning the pest into food! The learning material will be in video format to ensure maximum accessibility (not excluding the illiterate) and made open source to promote this approach in other affected areas.
Media coverage link – https://www.dw.com/en/making-the-best-of-locusts/av-56934309
This is a proof of concept for the creation of an early warning system for farmers that desert locusts are imminent, accompanied with a call to action to harvest them, and gain personal benefit from locust based outputs, such as animal feed and organic fertiliser.
Pilote operation, experimentation
06/01/2021 - project still in progress
The results from CELUP which is the foundation of this extension project are as below:
- 6 week project run in Kenya (Isiolo, Samburu, Laikipia, Meru)
- 4.3 tons of desert locust harvested by 180 people with a pay out of approximately $2,000
- Feed formulations for 8 types of animals created and trials run on broiler chickens by Jomo Kenyatta Uni of Tech and Agriculture showed that the inclusion of locusts as the protein are beneficial compared to the control of soy
- Through this new project, we will use technology to forecast weather and locust movement therefore, being able to warn farmers of locusts coming, and aim to reach up to 500 farmers with early warnings and video learning materials for processing locusts into valuable agricultural inputs
The project came about because those affected by desert locusts, who lost all of their crops, and felt helpless, were not included in the response / solutions, and were left on their own.
Through this project, affected communities were able to take action against the cause of their desperate situation, and earn an income to help counter the loss of income, as a result of lost crops (either for household consumption or for sale at the local market.)
Initial Pilot - Danida Emergency Funding
Scaling - JDC
The Bug Picture is a regenerative agriculture company, that is revolutionizing the way people view insect based protein to create a locally produced, competitively priced protein source that is environmentally sustainable to farm. We are Africans, passionate about Africa and bringing an African approach to a global problem.
By 2050 the population of East Africa will double. In this same period, the demand for meat will more than double in line with increased socioeconomic factors. We want to be part of the solution of food and feed for the future, using fewer natural resources without destroying our planet in the process.
With a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, we have all come together around the idea that regenerative agriculture can help to solve a number of the challenges being faced around the continent. We believe that nutrition, education and jobs, in harmony with the environment, are three key pillars to uplifting our people to new levels of self sufficiency and prosperity.
The Bug Picture is a private company operating in Kenya and Rwanda that is pioneering insects as a solution to environmental and social challenges experienced globally, but specifically in East Africa. Insects that we have experience working with are black soldier fly larvae, and desert locusts.
These solutions are driven by RE-thinking common and unique challenges, and RE-designing responses to create nature based, profitable, scalable solutions for long term sustainability.
Digital Green – Creation of video learning materials
Kenarava – Farmer engagement and project rollout