Black Soldier Fly (BSF) multiplication is recently gaining attention among actors in the agriculture value chain. The high cost of grains emanating from the Russian and Ukraine conflict coupled with the climate change impact is challenging researchers and actors along the agriculture value chain to act swiftly. This current development remains a challenge to PFG as well. Being mindful of this challenge on smallholder farmers and the consequential impact on global food security, PFG’s Executive Director participated in a BSF training to support smallholder farmers in reducing the high cost of ingredients associated with animal feed.
Figure 1:Composte and larvae growth medium
The two day training, which was organized by the Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, covered significant areas relevant to players in the agriculture development value chain. The subject areas were adequate to help PFG assist smallholder farmers in bridging the animal feed protein gap while reducing costs.
Among the topics covered were: the biology and benefits of BSF, housing and rearing processes including management procedures. Much emphasis was equally given to larvae production mediums such as the compost and its preparation including post-harvest larva processes among others. The training topics are deemed significant to the PFG project as they will help expedite smallholder farmer training in local content feed formulation to reduce over-dependency on imported feed. The over-dependence on foreign imported feed has been a challenge to smallholder livestock farmers. The need for indigenous or local feed content is urgent following the Ukraine/Russian conflict related feed hikes.
Figure 2: BSFL & Products as well as ProFarms Gateway Senior Mgt Staff
According to a recent report by the poultry farmers association of Ghana, most poultry farms in Ghana are on the verge of collapsing if no drastic measures are taken by the government to sustain the industry. The report emphasized the high cost of feed mainly from the lack of access to imported feed ingredients from Ukraine. PFG sees the urgent need to salvage the situation by equipping its leadership with the requisite skills in BSF larvae production to benefit smallholder farmers in their animal feed needs.
It is worth noting that the dry weight of BSF larvae contains up to 50% crude protein, up to 35% lipids and has an amino acid profile that is similar to that of fishmeal. It is recognized and utilized as an alternative source of protein for the feed of poultry, pigs, and several species of fish and shrimp.
Given the current feed need in the livestock sector, the PFG project seeks to bridge the gap through the introduction of BSFL production training to meet the protein requirement in local feed to sustain small-holder farmers' livelihood. This initiative by the PFG project is congruent to the call by the Poultry Farmers Association of Ghana’s urgent need to stay in business and the steep decline of many commercial poultry farms that were established in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and are now on the verge of collapsing due to high cost of feed.