Ecodudu is an innovative waste-to-value company operating in Kenya’s agricultural inputs value chains and animal feed industry i.e high quality, sustainable biomaterials derived from the black soldier fly.
The company produces organic fertilizers and highly nutritious inputs for animal feed by leveraging nature’s recycling agent, the mighty Black Soldier Flies (BSF) whose larvae convert organic waste into nutritious high-protein-dense animal feed. The resulting residues are subsequently processed into environmentally friendly and nutrient rich organic fertilizers.
The problems that Ecodudu is trying to solve can be summarized as follows: Environmental: such as soy cultivation, overfishing and waste management. Commercial: such as feed mills supply chain, animal feed productivity, and access to quality fertilizers.
Social: food security, nutrition and unemployment.
Adan Mohamed began his career as a sales agent at an animal feed company which was an eye opener to the feed industry. He started a feed manufacturing company where he later realized the dire need for alternative protein. A discussion with his partner led to further research on BSF rearing and Ecodudu was born. Adan designed and executed a biological prmocess that is modular and optimizable where the rearing system combines seamlessly with the insect life cycle. Adan has a Bachelor’s of Engineering degree from Kenyatta University.
Starlin Farah, co-founder of Ecodudu, is a medical Doctor with a Bachelor of Medicine and surgery (MB ChB) from Kenyatta University. She is passionate about Black Soldier Fly and has done extensive research and trials on BSF larvae as an alternative source of protein.
Currently she heads the research on various applications of the insect in pharmaceuticals, water purification and cosmetics and is the Chief Operations Officer at Ecodudu.
A circular solution to food waste
Driven by the food waste crisis and the need for sustainable animal feeds, Ecodudu through BSF farming, creates a circular economy by harnessing the food waste valorising powers of these humble insects to make animal feeds and organic fertilizer. Ecodudu also enhances the circular economy created by BSF farms by valorising byproducts generated through this process that would otherwise be discarded.
Kenya produces about 1.4 million tons of animal feed annually of which protein ingredients make 25% of the feed mix. This allows Ecodudu to address a total market value of about EUR 300 million at the backdrop of 350,000 tons of current supply levels of protein.
70% of commercial poultry farmers purchase feed, whereas all fish farmers buy feed. Considering that 100% protein substitution with BSF in poultry alone, demand for insects to substitute conventional protein source in feed in Kenya is estimated to 115,000 tons of dried insect annually for poultry feed alone. At a price of KSH 90,000 for a ton of protein, Ecodudu can service a market of KSH 10 billion (equivalent to EUR 100 million) only from poultry.
In the fish sector Kenya is the country with the strongest growth in the number of aquaculture ponds growing at 30% annually according to a technical report on the blue revolution by the International Food Policy Research Institute (2018). Kenya is also ranked the fourth-largest producer of farmed fish in Africa with an annual production of over 20,000 metric tonnes annually. The aquaculture is likely to grow further as the state bans illegal fishing on the marine and in-lands. While the demand for fish is growing, fish farmers are facing the challenge of having to incur higher raw material costs. The protein ingredient, specifically fishmeal, remains the most and increasingly expensive part of the feed.
As soybean meal and fishmeal exhibit low-quality protein intensity, insect protein becomes an attractive and a more sustainable substitute to large feed mills. Large commercial feed mills exerting a production capacity of 35,000 – 140,000 tons make less than 5% of the number of animal feed producers, but produce more than 85% of the market’s volume. With production expansion these will be Ecodudu’s main target customers.
The challenges Ecodudu is faced with are related to:
The solution provided by Truvalu: