LarvaeLive: Improving productivity through direct feeding of Black Soldier Fly larvae in fishponds in Uganda
About the project
UK-registered Partner: AquaSense – Anton Immink
Africa-registered Partner: Rural Aquaculture Development – Tim Messeder
Our project turned existing waste streams into productivity gains, focused on two high priority areas: insects for feed and aquaculture.
Aquaculture productivity in Uganda has faced challenges for decades, partly because of limited access to (pelleted) feed. The market is increasing, but logistical challenges mean that feed remains expensive and sporadically available in rural areas.
The Black Soldier Fly (BSF) industry focuses on feed ingredient replacement, particularly fishmeal, while disregarding the potential for BSF larvae as a direct feed replacement. Challenges of scale, consistency, and processing costs mean BSF meal is not yet a commercially viable pellet ingredient.
Our solution bypassed feed ingredient replacement and sought to use BSF larvae as a direct feed substitute/addition that is more readily available to farmers. Smallholder fish farmers within Rukungiri district use pond-based systems that will rarely use commercial feed pellets due to its high cost. This severely hampers economic returns to the farmers and nutritional gains for surrounding communities.
By providing low-cost BSF larvae as whole feed, we reduced poverty by increasing economic prosperity and reduced agricultural waste for smallholders. By improving fish growth rates, fish harvests can increase in frequency, and this improves the availability and accessibility of safe, healthy and nutritious foods.
Our pond-based feeding trials have demonstrated that tilapia grow well when commercial pellets are substituted by 33% and 66% BSF larvae; that the larvae can be produced locally using organic waste from markets that also produced compost; and that economics are attractive to local farmers.
Learn more about the project in this recording from our recent GCRF AgriFood Africa Project Showcase event.