- author, Innocent thought
- stock, For BBC Africa
Consumed by the blow and the amount of food waste he has to throw away, Murhula Jigabe specializes in turning food waste into protein for poultry, livestock and fish feed using black soldier flies.
For more than five years, this young 29-year-old entrepreneur has been looking for alternative ways to save the forests of the Congo Basin, the world’s second lung after the Amazon in Brazil. We are in Bukavu, east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“This forest is disappearing because we have to clear the forest to feed the world’s population, to produce protein, to meet the demand. You have to destroy forests to grow soybeans, you destroy forests to make palm oil cake,” he told the BBC.
Open with five wooden cages, draped with mosquito nets, stacked pieces of wood inside to hatch black soldier fly eggs. Subsequently, the flies are placed in the waste in vials divided horizontally into two.
Here, Murhula Jigabe turns food waste into protein with her company, Briquette du Kivu. It uses a bio-converter, an insect called the black soldier fly, to break down this amount of waste into protein.
While still a student, this philosophy graduate and former priestly aspirant began by turning organic waste into ecological fuel known as La Briquet. But the family that brought him the waste did not sort it. He has to find his own vehicle and place to dispose of all the waste that is not useful to him.
“It was an experiment for me to deal with waste that I couldn’t use. So I did some research to see if this waste could be used for something else, I saw how insects in North America convert their waste into animal protein, and I started exploring the possibilities,” he explains.
According to UN Habitat, in 2022, the city of Bukavu produced 898 tonnes of household solid waste per day. Only 7% waste was collected i.e. 62.22 tonnes. This United Nations agency therefore assesses that there is an urgent need to rectify the situation and manage waste in the city in an efficient and sustainable manner.
Do the garbage
Today, thanks to food waste, GigaBee produces an ecological protein. He and his team collect all the food waste from hotel dustbins, restaurants dustbins, markets dustbins and household dustbins.
During the process of metamorphosis, black soldier flies have a life span of nine to ten days and lay only eggs. These eggs are harvested and placed in the hatchery to develop larvae. This allows the larvae to consume waste and accumulate proteins through metabolism. After two weeks, some larvae are collected and fed to livestock, poultry and fish. Another batch of larvae is kept to continue colonization for another two weeks until they become pupae, that is to say in this intermediate stage between the larval stage and the development of wings. These pupae are still harvested and placed in cages a week later, which start jumping like flies that drink and start the same cycle of mating again.
Many researchers in South Kivu province in the east of the DRC believe that the culture of black soldier flies is an alternative to breeding. Especially in countries like DRC, the demand for meat is high. However, in order to have enough meat, they must first be fed and raised.
“The Kivu brickyard gives us a perspective, the possibility of getting more food to feed our pigs, our fish, our chickens so that we can produce intensively to supply the market and meet this growing demand,” points out Ir Ashusa Mushika. Oracle.
This agro-ecologist and animal production theorist believes that if we can find ways to achieve large-scale production of kivu briquettes, this will reduce the environmental problem. He also points out that using sophisticated equipment such as that recommended for larval production requires a highly skilled workforce.
A product is as economical as it is ecological
The best-known traditional sources of protein around the world include soybean meal, fishmeal, and palm kernel cake. However, unlike black soldier flies, soybean production requires a large area and a lot of water to irrigate the growth. To prepare Palm Cake, frying is essential. Roasting uses a lot of energy and involves pollution. Fishmeal production also leads to overfishing.
In his small laboratory, Murhula produces 70 kg of protein per week. Not even half of the high demand in Bukavu can be met. However, imported protein is in high demand in Bukavu. People who order from him testify to the quality of the product, which increases the quantity of poultry and livestock on time.
One of the customers, Bonjo Alliance, tested it and saw a change in his chickens. ”The chickens are starting to grow and growing fast. Anyway I have change and it’s good! She smiles and expresses her satisfaction. Her customers bought all of her stock chickens.
“See, I also sold 13 chickens. And I paid school premium fees for my children. “I eat it myself because I can’t go through the night without eating when there are chickens and knives,” she concludes.
La briquette du Kivu employs seven people for its service of turning food waste into animal protein. Among them, there is Mungu Andabale, 25, a mother of 4 children. Here, she takes care to follow the entire life cycle of black soldier flies. The job requires endurance, but it also helps her take care of her family.
“I like this job. If I didn’t like it, I would have given up already. You know us moms don’t get nauseous. “Sometimes the victims here vomit just by touching the insects,” he says with a smile.
For Murhula Jigabe, the most difficult thing is entrepreneurship. All he dreams of is seeing this industry grow. “To grow, that is, to be able to produce a ton of protein per month, there must be a large center for breeding black soldier flies and ensure that there are small production units in other provinces of the republic. Done!
“Coffee trailblazer. Social media fanatic. Tv enthusiast. Friendly entrepreneur. Amateur zombie nerd.”
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