Creating sustainable animal feed using insects and food waste

Finding innovative ways to reduce and repurpose waste can help address the environmental impact of food production whilst providing economic benefits across the supply chain. Flybox (formerly Mana Biosystems) is at the forefront of this revolution.

Posted on: 21/03/2023

Food loss and food waste both contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and farmers losing money. Finding new ways of feeding farm animals is an opportunity to increase the economic and environmental sustainability of livestock production. Flybox, an AgriTech company with bases in London and Nairobi, is working on an innovative insect-based solution to these challenges.

Using insect innovation to solve sustainability challenges

Flybox provides on-site insect farms in containers. Farmers feed organic waste to the black soldier flies (BSF) in the containers. The resultant larvae are then used as the basis of a high-protein animal feed for pigs, poultry, and fish. This helps farming become more circular and reduces the cost and Co2 emissions created by disposing of organic waste. It also gives farmers an extra source of income and livestock producers an environmentally-friendly, convenient feed source.

How Innovate UK KTN helped Flybox fast-track its innovation

The Innovate UK KTN AgriFood team were some of the first people Flybox contacted at the start of their innovation journey. The team helped them find and engage with key stakeholders in Kenya.

The AgriFood team connected Flybox to their first funding incubator, and played a key role in helping the company secure multiple new innovation grants.

The AgriFood team helped us grow as fast as we were able to grow in the past 18 months, and I really do credit them with a lot of that. Since its inception, the company has grown to 13 employees in 2023, and established our new facilities in Kenya.

– Andrea Jagodic, CEO & Co-Founder, Flybox

Making connections thanks to Innovate UK KTN events

AgriFood Africa Connect events have been fundamental to growing their business internationally. Our 2021 “Insect protein – Innovation and collaboration opportunities for Africa and the UK” event helped Flybox secure a place in a collaborative project funded through Horizon Europe. The total value of the project was over €5 million, with Flybox receiving around €400,000. This grant helped the company to grow their team.

The same event also enabled Flybox to make connections with key African stakeholders like the Rockefeller Foundation and the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) which led to further collaboration around insect research.

Bringing together UK and African expertise

Leveraging the different areas of expertise between the UK and Africa has been a focus from the start for Flybox. They’ve been tapping into UK expertise on technology like automation, environmental control and genetics and sub-Saharan African expertise on zoo technical research to form a well-rounded innovation ecosystem.

We’re bringing lots of stakeholders together from the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa because this crossover is helpful for the industry as a whole, not just for us.

– Andrea Jagodic, CEO & Co-Founder

As a biotech company, Flybox needs varied kinds of expertise to innovate effectively. Technology partners, research institutions and on-the-ground stakeholders are vital. Via AgriFood Africa Connect, the AgriFood team facilitated collaborations between the UK and Africa for Flybox and played a key role in accelerating their growth.

As an SME, we would never be able to have all of the expertise we need in house. Collaborating with technology partners and research institutions is key to us doing what we do. We can’t grow and deliver a good product without collaboration.

– Andrea Jagodic, CEO & Co-Founder

If you would like support to fast-track your innovation thanks to collaboration and funding, find out how the AgriFood team can help you and get in touch.

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AgriFood Africa Connect

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