On March 3, Dr. Solange Uwituze, Deputy Director General of the Rwanda Agricultural and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB), officiated at the launch of the first commercial insect-based animal feed factory in Rwanda, as well as new standards that will regulate and facilitate the growth of this new sector.
Uwituze represented the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources at the event which took place at the premises of the new factory in Bugesera district.
Insect-based animal feed is a promising innovation that can help address the lack of access to high quality and affordable commercial feed, which currently limits the performance and growth of the livestock sector in Rwanda.
The Black Soldier Fly (BSF) can convert low quality organic waste streams into valuable body mass containing high levels of protein and quality fat, serving as a substitute for
fishmeal and soybeans. Additionally, feces, i.e. the remains of growing insects, is an organic fertilizer that contains a nutrient-rich mixture of NPK and minerals.
The introduction of insect-based animal feed products and the development of standards was supported by the UK Aid funded Improving Market Systems for Agriculture in Rwanda (IMSAR-Noza Izoko) programme, implemented by Palladium in partnership with Swisscontact.
IMSAR aims to contribute to the commercialization of agriculture by improving the functioning of agricultural market systems, making them more competitive and inclusive for smallholder farmers. IMSAR has partnered with the International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) to provide technical assistance to selected agribusinesses to improve their ability to grow and process BSF.
Anna Wilson, Director of Development at the British High Commission in Kigali, noted that the IMSAR program has been instrumental in supporting the implementation of PSTA4; “The use of insects as a source of protein in animal feed has been tested and is now used in several countries. It is therefore great to see such innovation coming to Rwanda and we are happy to have helped pioneering companies like Safe for Health and Maggot Farm to acquire the technical know-how and invest in production facilities”.
During the same event, Jérôme Ndahimana, Director of Food and Agricultural, Chemical and Environmental Standards Unit, Rwanda Standards Board, presented to the participants the standards that have been developed to regulate the production and use of products at insect base.
These standards cover different aspects, including the production and handling of insects for food and feed (Code of Practice), dried insect products for animal feed (specifications) and; Edible insect products – Specification – Part 1Whole insects and insect meal.
He added: “The development of these standards has been achieved thanks to the support of different partners. The RSB is grateful to the IMSAR program for initiating this year-long standardization activity.
Safe for Health specializes in the production of animal feed and is a sister company of Abusol, one of the largest and most advanced poultry farms in Rwanda. During the event, Jean Baptiste Musabyimana, CEO and Founder, introduced the new plant and explained his vision for the future, which is to produce at least 5,000 tons of BSF powder per year.
He said The new times that 1,000 tons of dried BSF could convert over 20,000 MT of poor quality organic waste into high protein animal feed. “This means that 5,000 MT of BSF powder could turn 100,000 MT of organic waste streams into protein-rich food. Using insects will reduce the use of expensive soybeans that we use to produce animal feed,” he said.
Francis Kavutze, the founder of Maggot Farm, also supported by IMSAR, praised the innovative project. “We had access to training on best husbandry practices, and IMSAR’s investment helped us double our production of BSF larvae; we currently sell raw larvae to the fisheries and poultry industry, but in the future as we get sufficient investment, we intend to start drying and processing, adding value to our product “.
In his speech, Uwituze said this new technology is a timely alternative given that the price of soybeans – on which animal feed depends – has risen significantly from Rwf450/kg before 2019 to Rwf1,050/kg currently.
She said as a result, six manufacturers are operating below capacity (53%), making animal feed very expensive. “Black Soldier Flies are a good solution and very suitable for smallholder farmers who account for 68% of poultry and 97% of pig farming,” she said.
She welcomed the UK’s support for the animal feed sector, adding that the government was preparing to launch a fund to support the poultry and pork value chain.
“We are partnering with Enabel (the Belgian Development Agency) to set up a facilitation to help farmers access financing at an interest rate of 8% from the BRD via banks and microfinance institutions. “, she said. Supporting the poultry and pig industry could feed 22 million people by 2050 and 18 million by 2035. “We need to multiply current production by 13 to be able to feed such a population,” she said.
Rwanda Standards Development Council
The Rwanda Standards Board (RSB) is a public institution mandated to undertake all activities relating to the development of standards, conformity assessment and metrology services in the country; it is the only body authorized to define and hold national standards. The RSB is governed by a Board of Directors made up of key stakeholders from government, industry and academic institutions, as well as consumer associations. RBS has published 766 standards applied to food and agricultural products, including specifications for agricultural products, good farming, hygiene and manufacturing practices for food production and conformity assessment procedures to assess compliance .
International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology (here)
icipe’s mission is to help alleviate poverty, achieve food security and improve the general health status of the peoples of the tropics, by developing and extending tools and strategies for the management of harmful and beneficial arthropods, while preserving the natural resource base through research and capacity building.
Sustainable African Agriculture Company for Health ltd (Safe For Health)
SAFE For Health is a sister company of ABUSOL, a commercial poultry farm and animal feed factory; it was founded in 2020 with the vision of finding solutions to the animal feed constraint in Rwanda. SAFE for Health is the first commercial insect-based animal feed factory in Rwanda.
Maggot Farm is a Black Soldier Fly farm offering waste management and waste stream recycling in Kamonyi and Kayonza. Founded in 2019, Maggot Farm can produce up to 4 MT/month of BSF and 10 MT/month of organic fertilizer. Maggot Farm currently markets raw larvae for small farmers and agro-industries.
Improving Market Systems for Agriculture in Rwanda (IMSAR), known locally as Noza Isoko, is a UK aid program that aims to increase the incomes of poor households operating in targeted agricultural markets. IMSAR works to identify market failures and uses a market systems approach to attract investment and drive inclusive growth. IMSAR has 31 partners involved in the input, aggregation and finance markets.
IMSAR has so far generated over Rwf 4 billion in private sector investment, facilitated additional exports worth over Rwf 2 billion, and increased the incomes of over 100,000 rural households. IMSAR has also provided long-term financing and equity used to fund longer-term growth-oriented investments through impact investor AgDevCo.
Officials present a copy of the standards developed by the RSB. / Craish Bahizi