Insect and Hydroponic Farming in Africa: The New Circular Food Economy

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Insect and Hydroponic Farming in Africa: The New Circular Food Economy

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People have eaten insects and hydroponic crops for hundreds of years. But farming them is new, with huge potential for human food and animal feed all year round with very little resources. Farmed insects can be fed organic waste, then quickly become protein-rich foods for humans and animals. Waste from insects can then return to the soil as biofertilizer, creating a circular economy.

Africa already has hydroponic farms and more than 850 insect farms that produce food and feed. But the sector is still in its infancy, with the potential to create millions of jobs, including for women and youth, if it is scaled up in Africa and beyond. Join our event to learn from insect farmers, development experts and World Bank staff who are pushing the frontier of agriculture to create jobs, improve food security and save the planet.

See the list of speakers ˅

Use the following timestamps to navigate different sections of the video.

00:00 Welcome and opening remarks
07:29 Report findings: Insect and Hydroponic Farming in Africa
27:09 Getting into the business of insect farming
30:38 People to eat insects or insects as a feed source for animals?
33:12 How the insect farming market works
35:50 Challenges in setting up and growing an insect farm
37:03 The food security situation in refugee settings in Africa
43:46 Insect farming or hydroponic farms in refugee settings in Africa
49:25 The cost of insect feed vs. traditional feed
51:30 Resistance from farmers in using insect feed
54:18 The impact and benefits of insect and hydroponic farming
57:40 Successful countries in the insect farming industry
59:46 The case of South Korea
1:02:11 Closing remarks

 

Speakers

Moderator

Read the transcript


  • 00:05 (music)
  • 01:44 [Simon Tulett] Hello and welcome to Insect and Hydroponic
  • 01:48 Farming in Africa: The New Circular Food Economy.
  • 01:53 This event is streaming on World Bank live, at live.worldbank.org in both English and French.
  • 02:00 We're here to discuss the potential of farming insects, and hydroponic plants to increase
  • 02:06 the world's food security in a changing climate.
  • 02:10 My name is Simon Tulett.
  • 02:12 I'm a journalist with the BBC World Service specializing in food and farming issues, and
  • 02:18 so I'm very excited to be moderating this event.
  • 02:21 [Simon Tulett] If you would like to tweet and share your
  • 02:24 views, please use the hashtag future of food.
  • 02:28 [Simon Tulett] We're all here to meet a challenge, a big
  • 02:32 one.
  • 02:33 It's thought an extra two billion people will be joining us on our planet within the next
  • 02:38 30 years, two-thirds of them in Africa.
  • 02:42 As these populations continue to grow, the world needs to find new ways to provide more
  • 02:48 nutritious food in a way that doesn't overwhelm our natural resources.
  • 02:52 A new groundbreaking World Bank report says that farming insects and hydroponic plants
  • 03:00 could be one of our best solutions.
  • 03:02 [Simon Tulett] Today's event will begin with some thoughts
  • 03:05 from Juergen Voegele, World Bank vice president for sustainable development.
  • 03:10 We'll then have a presentation by Dorte Verner, lead author of the report titled Insect and
  • 03:16 Hydroponic Farming in Africa: A New Circular Food Economy.
  • 03:20 To discuss what we've heard and to look to the future, we'll be joined by a fantastic
  • 03:25 panel of expert guests, including an insect entrepreneur in Kenya and representatives
  • 03:31 from the UNHCR and the World Bank.
  • 03:35 Anyway, enough from me, let's get started and welcome Juergen Voegele to provide a bit
  • 03:40 of context for today's discussion.
  • 03:42 [Juergen Voegele] Well, good morning and good afternoon everyone.
  • 03:47 Thank you, Simon, for the introduction.
  • 03:49 I'm actually really pleased to be here today to talk about insect farming and hydroponic
  • 03:54 crops.
  • 03:55 I'm quite excited to see the World Bank mobilize new evidence and fresh experience that promotes
  • 04:00 sustainability and sustainable jobs.
  • 04:03 Indeed, we urgently need new ideas and new practices to produce more nutritious food
  • 04:09 in a more sustainable way.
  • 04:11 You know, as you've seen in the video clip, it's not new to eat insects or to consume
  • 04:16 hydroponic plants, but I think there is new technology and new ways of doing things, new
  • 04:22 organizational, new financial models out there that we absolutely need to explore in order
  • 04:28 to be able to scale this new technologies.
  • 04:29 So we need the approaches that address the cycle of warming temperatures, environmental
  • 04:35 degradation, lowering yields, rising food prices, and increasing pressures on oceans,
  • 04:40 forests, and lands, the kinds of things we've been observing over the past decades as a
  • 04:45 result of climate change, as a result of unsustainable farming practices.
  • 04:48 [Juergen Voegele] The cycle is not only bad for the planet.
  • 04:50 It's also one of the main drivers of rising hunger and malnutrition around the world.
  • 04:55 I'm sure you have read that according to the UN around 118 million more people were facing
  • 05:01 hunger in 2020 and in 2019, partly because of climate shocks.
  • 05:06 And of course, the number was even worse in
  • 05:08 But there was a whole suite of climate-smart agricultural practices that can green and
  • 05:14 strengthen the food system, such as reduced tillage, planting trees, and ranches and farms,
  • 05:18 all the things that I'm sure you're familiar with, alternate bedding and drying and rice
  • 05:23 systems to get the methane emissions down, more diverse and resilient pasture and integrated
  • 05:28 pest management, and so on and so on.
  • 05:30 [Juergen Voegele] These climate-smart techniques are out there.
  • 05:33 Some are not readily available for scaling, some are less.
  • 05:37 In most cases, actually these technologies are not expensive because they work with nature
  • 05:42 instead of against it, and they restore natural synergies that result overall in a much more
  • 05:48 balanced growth.
  • 05:49 Insect farming is one of these climate-smart agricultural practices.
  • 05:53 It produces high quality protein with fewer resources and lower environmental costs than
  • 05:58 say soybean or fish meal, and it provides animals with something they really love to
  • 06:03 eat.
  • 06:04 It embodies what we mean by green growth and sustainable development applied to food system.
  • 06:11 The second reason I'm actually quite excited about this topic relates to the poverty reduction
  • 06:15 and jobs dimension.
  • 06:16 [Juergen Voegele] The global market for insects as food and
  • 06:19 animal feed will be worth up to $8 billion by 2030, and that's probably an underestimate.
  • 06:25 That represents a 24% annual growth rate over the next decade.
  • 06:28 Africa, of course, because of its low labor costs and warm climate is very well positioned
  • 06:33 to benefit.
  • 06:34 I think we'll hear from our panelists a bit more what this looks like in practice.
  • 06:38 Africa already has hydroponic farms and about 850 insect farms.
  • 06:45 I'm convinced new business will be created around innovative and green food technologies,
  • 06:50 and really, I'm also delighted to see African entrepreneurs leading the way.
  • 06:54 [Juergen Voegele] So I hope today's discussion will spur thoughts
  • 06:58 for the conversations and inspire concrete actions so that insect and hydroponic farming
  • 07:02 can become an integral part of more sustainable and nutritious food systems.
  • 07:07 We need innovation for a purpose and we need a profoundly changed food system globally.
  • 07:14 Those two can be a part of the solution.
  • 07:16 With that, thank you, and I look forward to the discussion.
  • 07:18 Back to you, Simon.
  • 07:20 [Simon Tulett] Thank you very much, Juergen.
  • 07:24 That was Juergen Voegele, World Bank vice president for sustainable development.
  • 07:28 Let's hear now in more detail about the potential of insect and hydroponic farming in Africa
  • 07:34 from the report's lead author, Dorte Verner.
  • 07:37 [Dorte Verner] Thank you very much, Simon.
  • 07:40 And thank you Juergen for your great introduction remark.
  • 07:44 This report is still wet.
  • 07:46 So why don't I move to the PowerPoint that is a little bit drier.
  • 07:50 So let me share my screen, see if it works this time.
  • 08:00 What if I told you that it's possible to feed all people in the world with a nutrient-rich
  • 08:14 diet and not drain our planet for forest and biodiversity, and it may even be possible
  • 08:20 to feed nutritious food to the 10 billion people that live in the world by 2050?
  • 08:26 You may say it's a dream, but there are untapped potential for producing nutritious food that
  • 08:32 improve our food system by applying a circular economy concept that will first, not take
  • 08:39 out more arable land and water, and secondly, increase climate resilience by creating jobs
  • 08:45 and producing low carbon intensive foods.
  • 08:49 [Dorte Verner] The African food system cannot feed all people
  • 08:53 nutritious food right now.
  • 08:55 Since 2014, per capita food production has been falling.
  • 09:00 And in 2021 last year, 240 million African experience hunger and more so in countries
  • 09:08 affected by fragility and conflict, the so-called FCS countries, where 29% had insufficient
  • 09:16 food consumption.
  • 09:17 With business as usual in Africa, food security will deteriorate for at least a decade.
  • 09:25 New technologies are part of the solution to increase food security in addition to better
  • 09:30 policies.
  • 09:31 [Dorte Verner] Insect and hydroponic farming are such disruptive
  • 09:35 technologies.
  • 09:37 Insect and hydroponic farming are part of the promising menu of solution to strengthen
  • 09:42 the food systems by increasing the nutrient content in food and decreasing the environmental
  • 09:49 impact of food and agriculture.
  • 09:51 Globally, we need to move away from the linear food production model and closer to a circular
  • 09:57 model that will first, strengthen the food system and feed more people nutritious food.
  • 10:04 Second, create climate-resilient livelihood for income from the farm and up the value
  • 10:10 chain.
  • 10:12 And thirdly, reduce the agricultural footprint on the planet.
  • 10:15 [Dorte Verner] Insect and hydroponic technologies are comparative
  • 10:22 cost advantages from conventional farming when resources are constrained.
  • 10:27 This is why these technologies can be successful in arid and densely populated area, for example,
  • 10:33 in our cities where there's a shortage arable land and water.
  • 10:38 This also explains why these technologies are economically advantageous in resource-poor
  • 10:44 communities in Africa.
  • 10:46 As we increase food security, we could expand the menu of foods that are little resource,
  • 10:52 attention and nutrition.
  • 10:53 [Dorte Verner] I have had the privilege to share protein-rich
  • 10:57 meals with people across the globe.
  • 11:00 The Zimbabweans taught me to eat crunchy Mopane worms. 90% of the Zimbabweans eat insects.
  • 11:09 Koreans showed me that mealworm can spice up salads and even serve as a key ingredient
  • 11:14 in desserts.
  • 11:15 Indians in Chhattisgarh shared their secret when we cook red weaver ant, and enjoy a meal
  • 11:24 with ant sauce.
  • 11:25 Ants are hard to catch, but even harder to prevent from running out of the pan when you
  • 11:30 cook them.
  • 11:32 Food connectors, we all like to share a meal.
  • 11:35 [Dorte Verner] Globally, one to two billion people eat insect
  • 11:38 that are mostly collected in the wild, and there's a market for insects.
  • 11:42 Insects are delicious and nutritious.
  • 11:45 They are source of high quality protein.
  • 11:50 Insects provide nine digestible amino acids and zinc and iron and calcium, all micronutrients
  • 11:58 that many children in Africa, they lack today.
  • 12:02 Adding only five grams of insect protein a day to the diet can alleviate a person's risk
  • 12:09 of protein, folate, zinc, and B12 deficiency.
  • 12:11 [Dorte Verner] There are two key risks with collecting insects
  • 12:16 in the wild.
  • 12:18 First, foraged insects are seasonal.
  • 12:20 For example, the Mopane worm in Southern Africa, we can only collect four months per year.
  • 12:26 Plus there's a serious risk of over harvesting that can reduce the biodiversity and ecosystem
  • 12:32 services that insect provides.
  • 12:34 Globally, 40% of insects species are at risk of extinction right now.
  • 12:40 Secondly, there's an issue with safety in consuming foraged insects.
  • 12:47 Insects in the wild eat up trees and crops, including those that have just been sprayed
  • 12:52 by pesticide.
  • 12:53 So insect may contain chemicals dangerous for human health.
  • 12:58 [Dorte Verner] What if we stopped over harvesting insect
  • 13:02 by producing insect, instead of collecting them?
  • 13:05 By farming insect, we will have an all-year-long supply and we can control what insect eat,
  • 13:13 so no chemicals enter into the food chain.
  • 13:18 We can raise insect like we raise other livestock.
  • 13:22 Clearly, crickets and mealworm can be categorized as a micro livestock, right?
  • 13:28 But with 20 times fewer greenhouse emissions than livestock per kilo of edible protein.
  • 13:36 Globally, we have about 2,100 edible insects.
  • 13:41 An African consume roughly 25% of these, but globally, we only farm 20 insect kinds.
  • 13:49 [Dorte Verner] The team and I collected data in 13 African
  • 13:54 countries on insect farming and learned there exist around 850 insects farmed in these 13
  • 14:01 African countries.
  • 14:02 Every year, we see an increase in the number of entrants and insect initiatives in Africa.
  • 14:10 Barclay Investment Bank estimate that globally the market for insects as human food and animal
  • 14:18 feed will be worth up to $8 billion by 2030.
  • 14:23 But my guesstimate is that it would be even larger if Africa takes on the way it seems
  • 14:29 to be doing, and we're going to learn more about today.
  • 14:34 [Dorte Verner] Okay.
  • 14:36 Maybe not everyone want to order a mealworm burger, but what if animals people eat such
  • 14:44 as chicken and fish were fed their favorite foods.
  • 14:48 Yes, animal feed with insect protein as the main protein source instead of fish meal and
  • 14:54 soy.
  • 14:55 Today, we feed fish to farm fish.
  • 14:58 Nearly a third of the global fish head goes to fish feed.
  • 15:04 That is unsustainable.
  • 15:06 Soy needs a lot of arable land to grow.
  • 15:11 If we reduce soy protein content in animal feed, we could hold the deforestation of the
  • 15:17 remaining standing tropical forest.
  • 15:21 Insect farming can provide a lot of protein.
  • 15:24 So hear me out.
  • 15:25 In one year, a one acre black soldier fly can provide more protein than 3,000 acres
  • 15:35 of land and 130 acres of soybean.
  • 15:39 That's a lot, right?
  • 15:42 [Dorte Verner] Black soldier fly protein can substitute fish
  • 15:46 meal and soy.
  • 15:47 It can even improve the growth performance of animals as we have learned from the surveys
  • 15:54 in Africa.
  • 15:57 What does an insect farm look like?
  • 16:00 Black soldier fly larva can be produced in a short time in colonies stacked vertically
  • 16:06 in crates or in pens with high population density.
  • 16:10 How long does it take to raise a chicken or produce a ton of soybeans?
  • 16:14 That depends, but we know that black soldier fly larva can be produced in two weeks with
  • 16:20 no arable land and little water.
  • 16:22 [Dorte Verner] The demand for animal feed is rapidly increasing
  • 16:27 in Africa, and so are feed prices as we are hearing right now during the pandemic.
  • 16:31 In the last decade, in Kenya alone, feed production tripled and reaps more than 900,000 tons.
  • 16:42 16 insect species are farmed in the 13 surveyed African country.
  • 16:47 Mealworm, crickets, palm weevil larva, and black soldier flies are the most common insects.
  • 16:54 81% of the insect farmers that are producing insects in Africa right now produce insect
  • 17:03 for human consumption.
  • 17:04 [Dorte Verner] What do insects eat?
  • 17:08 Insects can be fed organic waste, including household waste, agricultural waste and food
  • 17:15 industry waste.
  • 17:17 The circular production process produces insect and frass and frass is a bio fertilizer.
  • 17:24 Both can be sold commercially.
  • 17:28 Insects provide protein and oil that we can feed to people or to fish and chicken and
  • 17:33 pigs that serves as food for people.
  • 17:37 We create jobs along the chain.
  • 17:41 People buy food, they produce organic waste, which can be served to insects.
  • 17:45 A circular economy.
  • 17:47 [Dorte Verner] An insect farm can contribute to combat climate
  • 17:51 change and solve waste problems by turning organic waste from a liability into an asset.
  • 17:58 Insect can help reducing high level of organic waste, including in cities and rural communities,
  • 18:04 and some of the people that we surveyed in rural Africa told us that the community, since
  • 18:11 they started producing insect, have become much cleaner.
  • 18:13 [Dorte Verner] This figure shows the representation of the
  • 18:18 value in the supply chain of edible insects.
  • 18:20 And it's the farming representation, right?
  • 18:24 It is like that of other animal protein, but it's new.
  • 18:28 So not all component are fully developed and implemented including regulations.
  • 18:34 The development of insect protein system and their costs are determined by several factors,
  • 18:41 depending on the scale of the operation.
  • 18:43 Costs are mainly determined by labor as Juergen mentioned, and also of substrate costs.
  • 18:50 Small scale insect farm can exist in parallel with large scale commercial farm.
  • 18:55 [Dorte Verner] In Africa right now, 76% of these existing
  • 18:59 insect farm, they're small.
  • 19:01 20% are medium size and 4% are large scale already.
  • 19:08 Our surveys show that insect farming benefit both youth, women, and men, and all ages.
  • 19:16 In Africa right now, 12% of insect farmer are below 30 years of age, and 22% are over
  • 19:25 60 years old.
  • 19:27 [Dorte Verner] Insects have a ferocious appetite.
  • 19:31 One square meter of black soldier fly insect farm can consume up to 15 kilos of organic
  • 19:39 waste per day.
  • 19:41 Insect converts all sorts of organic waste into protein.
  • 19:45 Our survey findings reveal that nearly half of insect farmers in Africa use household
  • 19:51 waste such as vegetable scraps, et cetera, to feed insects.
  • 19:57 Other use food industry waste such as brewery waste that are really high, has high content
  • 20:04 of protein.
  • 20:05 [Dorte Verner] In Africa, nearly half of insect farmers say
  • 20:08 that the income generation is the main reason they engage in insect farming.
  • 20:13 In Ghana, small palm weevil worm farmers could pay back their initial capital investment
  • 20:19 in 127 days and earn a revenue of $553 in one year.
  • 20:26 I am not an expert in industries, but I do know that there's not many other companies
  • 20:31 who can pay back all the investment in less than half a year.
  • 20:35 I think that's impressive.
  • 20:36 [Dorte Verner] In Thailand, a small eight pen cricket farm
  • 20:41 generate more than $2,000 of net profits from crickets and frass sales per year.
  • 20:47 In our survey, all farmers experienced an increased consumer demand, and 59% of the
  • 20:55 insect farmers experience a higher price than the year before, and 50% experience a 50%
  • 21:06 higher price than the previous year.
  • 21:09 That's really impressive.
  • 21:10 In most countries, insect protein is still little comparative, for example, with soybean
  • 21:19 and fish meal, but in Kenya, the black soldier fly larva prices are now below fish meal and
  • 21:24 soy prices, very [inaudible] the African industry.
  • 21:28 [Dorte Verner] What are the potential for insect farming
  • 21:33 in Africa?
  • 21:35 If we collect organic waste and feed it to black soldier fly larvae that is fed to animal,
  • 21:40 we could create jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emission.
  • 21:44 We did estimate based on the circular economy model from the top 10 agricultural economies
  • 21:51 in Africa, and we assume we could collect 30% of the agricultural way for their top
  • 21:56 five crops.
  • 21:58 That would generate 200 million tons of waste that we could feed to the black soldier fly
  • 22:04 larvae and generate two products.
  • 22:07 As I mentioned, bio fertilizer and we could generate 60 million ton to a value of $19
  • 22:14 billion just by using these waste resources.
  • 22:18 Secondly, we can use black soldier fly larva protein that we can turn into feed to a value
  • 22:26 of $2.6 billion.
  • 22:27 [Dorte Verner] This waste-based black soldier fly protein
  • 22:32 could meet 14% of the annual protein needs for all fish, chicken, goats and pig in Africa
  • 22:40 today.
  • 22:42 There's social economic benefits with producing insect and feeding them the 30% waste.
  • 22:49 We could create up to 15 million climate-resilient, direct and indirect jobs in Africa.
  • 22:57 There's also climate benefits, as I mentioned earlier.
  • 23:03 Reducing greenhouse gas methane is one key benefit.
  • 23:07 So if we feed the black soldier fly larvae as animal feed, we can alleviate up to 86
  • 23:20 million tons of CO2 equivalent emission.
  • 23:23 That is equivalent to taking 18 million cars off the road and that's every year.
  • 23:28 So you see, there's a huge potential for insect farming in Africa.
  • 23:33 [Dorte Verner] What are the ways forward for the insect and
  • 23:36 hydroponic farming technologies?
  • 23:39 They're actually quite extensive.
  • 23:41 We propose to organize insect and hydroponic farming in two phases.
  • 23:49 First, establish a pilot and also establish the industry, including regulatory framework
  • 23:57 sector, and then we take them to scale.
  • 24:00 The report provides ideas of how to do this.
  • 24:03 [Dorte Verner] So in sum, with insect and hydroponic farming
  • 24:08 for human food and animal feed, we require no arable land and little water, and we can,
  • 24:17 first, improve the food system and come and close to a circular economy.
  • 24:22 Secondly, improve the food system and feed more people a nutrient, protein-rich diet,
  • 24:28 and reduce malnutrition.
  • 24:30 Third, create climate-resilient jobs and income from the farm and up the value chain.
  • 24:36 Fourth, contribute to reduce the agricultural footprint on the planet, including from soil
  • 24:41 degradation, climate change, deforestation, and biodiversity depletion.
  • 24:46 Fifth, we save hard currency by producing rather than importing protein and fertilizer.
  • 24:52 I think our colleagues in the Ministry of Finance across Africa would like this.
  • 24:57 [Dorte Verner] It is possible to feed all people on the planet,
  • 25:01 but I'm not saying that all humans need to consume insects.
  • 25:05 Insect can be fed to livestock and fish, but honestly, if you have never eaten a dessert
  • 25:12 made of bee larvae and white chocolate, you have missed out.
  • 25:16 [Dorte Verner] Before I finish, I would like to thank my
  • 25:19 incredible team.
  • 25:20 My co-author that had done research and drafted text for this report, the country teams that
  • 25:27 have helped us collect data that was very hard during COVID, my manager, Holger Kray,
  • 25:34 Marc, Martien, and Juergen that have supported this journey.
  • 25:38 I also would like to thank the Korean Rural Development Agency and people across the globe
  • 25:42 that have taught me so much about insects.
  • 25:45 And finally, I would like to thank you for listening.
  • 25:49 [Simon Tulett] Thank you very much, Dorte.
  • 25:53 Some of those recipes sounded fantastic.
  • 25:56 Thank you so much.
  • 25:57 Dorte's presentation and her report explain then that insect farming and hydroponic plants
  • 26:03 could be invaluable in providing food and animal feed in Africa, as well as in fragile
  • 26:09 and conflict-affected countries, but not only that, they could also improve livelihoods
  • 26:15 and help protect the environment.
  • 26:17 [Simon Tulett] Let's turn now then to some of the people
  • 26:20 leading change in this area and give a very warm welcome indeed to our panel of guests
  • 26:25 for today, as well as Dorte Verner.
  • 26:29 We're joined by Martien van Nieuwkoop, World Bank, Global Director for Agriculture and
  • 26:33 Global Food Practice.
  • 26:35 Raouf Mazou is also with us.
  • 26:37 He's Assistant High Commissioner for Operations in the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner
  • 26:43 for Refugees.
  • 26:44 That's a mouthful.
  • 26:45 And last, but by no means least, Talash Huijbers, CEO of InsectiPro, an insect farm in Nairobi,
  • 26:53 Kenya.
  • 26:54 [Simon Tulett] Talash, let's start with you because you are
  • 26:57 one of the people actually putting what we've heard into practice.
  • 27:00 You run one of the 850 or so insect farms in Africa that Juergen mentioned earlier.
  • 27:07 First of all then Talash, how exactly did you get into the business of insect farming?
  • 27:12 [Talash Huijbers] Good morning, everybody, or good afternoon,
  • 27:16 depending where you are in the world.
  • 27:17 My name is Talash Huijbers, and I run InsectiPro as you just heard.
  • 27:22 So our story started in 2018.
  • 27:25 My degree is in agriculture because I believe everybody needs to eat at the end of the day.
  • 27:30 When I graduated, I thought I would venture into fish farming.
  • 27:33 I believe the world is moving towards white meat, and that that's one of the livestocks
  • 27:41 of the future.
  • 27:42 When we're doing the costing of fish farming, we discovered that although living in Kenya,
  • 27:46 we have cheap land, cheap labor, perfect weather, and plenty of water, fish farming was not
  • 27:52 as affordable or the cost was still very high.
  • 27:54 So we had to ask ourselves why.
  • 27:57 This is because of feed.
  • 28:00 So in Kenya feed makes up 60 to 70% of the cost of production, while in Europe, it's
  • 28:05 30 to 50.
  • 28:06 [Talash Huijbers] So more than double is what Africans are spending
  • 28:09 on feed compared to our counterparts in Europe and Asia.
  • 28:12 This is because of the protein component.
  • 28:15 As Dorte mentioned, the two most common protein components are fish meal and soy.
  • 28:20 The problem with fish meal is that it comes very adulterated.
  • 28:24 So people are mixing a lot of sand into the bags to reach the kilos.
  • 28:28 The other problem with fish meal is that it's something that as Kenyans, we eat.
  • 28:32 It's locally called Omena.
  • 28:33 It's a delicacy.
  • 28:34 The second product is soy.
  • 28:36 East Africa is not a soy growing region per se.
  • 28:40 So we're not producing enough soy for both animal feed and for human consumption.
  • 28:44 This means a lot of the product has to be important.
  • 28:48 Anything that has to be imported into Kenya comes with an extra cost attached.
  • 28:52 [Talash Huijbers] Also, when you consider logistics, not really
  • 28:56 the best, if you consider things having to leave the port and go into the city, it's
  • 29:00 a drama to put it shortly.
  • 29:03 So we thought, why would we grow protein at the end of the chain when there's a bigger
  • 29:07 problem in the middle of the chain?
  • 29:09 So we conducted a small market survey back in October of 2018.
  • 29:14 Is there enough waste?
  • 29:15 And is there interest in this industry?
  • 29:17 So is there enough waste?
  • 29:20 Nairobi produces 2,500 metric tons of organic waste a day of which around 70% of that is
  • 29:26 directly accessible to this industry.
  • 29:30 Is there enough demand?
  • 29:33 If you look at the feed millers in Nairobi, they're total of 250, and they demand around
  • 29:38 one million metric tons of feed is made a year and only 69% of them...
  • 29:44 So we started asking ourselves, okay, there is demand and there is market.
  • 29:59 What is...
  • 30:02 [Simon Tulett] Talash, can you hear us?
  • 30:10 We're just having problems with Talash's line there.
  • 30:14 I'll just jump in now, and hopefully we can get Talash back shortly.
  • 30:17 Really interesting stuff.
  • 30:19 She was telling us there about the rationale for setting up her farm.
  • 30:24 Hopefully we'll get her back in a second, but while we reestablished comms with her,
  • 30:27 perhaps I could bring in Martien van Nieuwkoop, who's the World Bank Global Director for Agriculture
  • 30:33 and Food Global Practice.
  • 30:35 [Simon Tulett] So Martien, we've heard a lot from Dorte's
  • 30:39 report there at about the value of insect farming.
  • 30:42 Is the World Bank telling people to eat insects, or is this more about insects as a feed source
  • 30:49 for animals?
  • 30:50 [Martien van Nieuwkoop] Well, very good.
  • 30:52 Thanks very much, Simon.
  • 30:53 Of course, that's a great question.
  • 30:55 Let me start by saying, and I think also Dorte's presentation was quite clear on that.
  • 31:02 I mean, I think the emphasis of this report is on farming insects as an exciting new business
  • 31:09 opportunity.
  • 31:10 I think you also heard from our African panelists just now.
  • 31:15 You know, we see there's a source of growth, jobs creation while at the same time, making
  • 31:22 a positive impact on the environment and helping to invest in climate emergency.
  • 31:28 As Dorte said, one to two billion people already consume insects on a regular basis and collect
  • 31:36 it in the wild.
  • 31:38 As Dorte said, these traditional supplies increasingly are under stress.
  • 31:43 So farming insects instead, will then allow people who already eat insects to have access
  • 31:51 to year-round supply that is safer and has also as higher quality than what's collected
  • 31:57 in the wild without running down ecosystems by exhausting supplies.
  • 32:03 [Martien van Nieuwkoop] Also, there's a lot of interest and excitement
  • 32:09 these days, as you might have heard, about alternative proteins.
  • 32:13 I mean, think plant-based meats, I mean, lab-grown meats, and we think that there's an opportunity
  • 32:20 in this space as well for huge consumer demand for insect-based proteins.
  • 32:26 Of course, this would further then enhance the business opportunity of insect farming
  • 32:32 and then totally, of course, the really exciting part of farming insects is the ability to
  • 32:38 substitute other forms of animal feeds like soybean and fish meal.
  • 32:42 So I think there's three markets out there, the traditional consumer market, the new consumers
  • 32:47 interested in alternative proteins, as well as the substitute in the animal feed market.
  • 32:52 So this would make this a very interesting business opportunity, Simon.
  • 32:57 [Simon Tulett] Thank you so much, Martien.
  • 32:59 Hopefully we've got Talash back.
  • 33:00 Talash, you're back with us.
  • 33:02 You were telling us, filling us in with fascinating detail about why you started your insect farm.
  • 33:08 I suppose the gap in the market that you saw, the problems you saw there.
  • 33:11 I wonder if you could tell us in a bit more detail about how it works.
  • 33:14 I mean, you were talking there about the waste that you use that goes into production.
  • 33:19 How does that work?
  • 33:21 What insects exactly do you farm at InsectiPro?
  • 33:23 How do you farm them, and who are your customers?
  • 33:27 [Talash Huijbers] Thank you.
  • 33:29 So we farm two insects at InsectiPro.
  • 33:31 We have the black soldier fly, which is the first insect that we started that Dorte explained
  • 33:35 a bit how it works.
  • 33:37 So we started with the black soldier fly in 2018 with two kilos.
  • 33:41 Right now, we're doing around one metric ton a day.
  • 33:44 The cool thing, or why the black soldier fly is showing so much interest globally, is that
  • 33:49 it, number one, eats waste.
  • 33:51 So all the organic waste you're able to upcycle it, and then you create circular food systems
  • 33:56 by providing the last closing gap.
  • 33:58 It eats waste.
  • 34:00 You have a high value protein at the end.
  • 34:02 Its amino acid profile is comparable to fish meal, but you can do it for the price of soy,
  • 34:08 but then also its poop is very good fertilizer.
  • 34:11 So right now we're doing a lot of tests with KALRO, the Kenyan Agricultural Institute to
  • 34:16 see how it works.
  • 34:18 Does it work better?
  • 34:19 [Talash Huijbers] So every day we have around 30 metric tons
  • 34:22 of waste entering our facility from all the markets, but also from all the food processors.
  • 34:27 And then this, we grind it down into a paste, feed it to our black soldier flies.
  • 34:31 They eat for 10 days, so they also have a very fast conversion ratio.
  • 34:35 And then after 10 days we're able to harvest them.
  • 34:39 We dry them and then they go off to either feed millers or directly to farmers.
  • 34:43 [Talash Huijbers] The other insect that we produce is the crickets.
  • 34:47 Our crickets are for human consumption.
  • 34:48 Right now, we have a bit of a fun time in the office, because we're doing flavor development.
  • 34:54 So we have barbecue-flavored crickets, we have salt and vinegar.
  • 34:57 We have cinnamon crunch and salted, I believe.
  • 35:03 And then from these flavors, we have also developed a porridge.
  • 35:08 So our porridge is more of our mass market product.
  • 35:10 So together with JKUAT we take our porridge, or they develop the porridge, we input the
  • 35:16 crickets.
  • 35:17 Together with JKUAT, they tested it on school-aged children.
  • 35:20 It's showed to reduce stunting, but also increase weight in these school-aged children.
  • 35:25 So there's a lot of interesting data coming out of this industry right now.
  • 35:29 It's still a very young industry.
  • 35:31 So I guess everybody's trying to figure it out.
  • 35:34 [Talash Huijbers] What was your other question?
  • 35:38 [Simon Tulett] No, I think you've covered it.
  • 35:41 You mentioned your customers.
  • 35:42 That was the last thing.
  • 35:45 You mentioned some of this before, some of the problems in the sector, I guess, but what
  • 35:48 are the main challenges that you faced in not only setting up, but growing your insect
  • 35:56 farm?
  • 35:57 Talash, are you there?
  • 36:04 [Simon Tulett] Okay.
  • 36:08 We'll wait and see if Talash comes back, we're having a few problems with her connection.
  • 36:16 While we wait for her to come back, I wonder if I could bring in one of our other guests
  • 36:23 to talk to us and fill us in on some more details.
  • 36:25 As we've heard, one of the advantages of farming insects and hydroponic plants is that they're
  • 36:31 well suited for places with limited resources.
  • 36:34 We heard that in Dorte's report.
  • 36:36 Limited resources like water, arable land and space, and those are settings similar
  • 36:40 to where many refugees reside.
  • 36:42 [Simon Tulett] Raouf Mazou, these are the places you're,
  • 36:46 of course, very familiar with as assistant high commissioner for operations in the office
  • 36:51 of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
  • 36:55 But before we talk about how these frontier agricultural technologies could help refugees,
  • 36:59 I wonder Raouf, could you set the scene for us and tell us about the food security situation
  • 37:05 in UNHCR-run refugee settings in Africa, and what you are doing to increase self-reliance
  • 37:12 there?
  • 37:13 [Raouf Mazou] Well, thank you.
  • 37:15 Thank you very much, Simon, and greetings to everyone, and also appreciation to Juergen.
  • 37:21 The cooperation that we're having with the World Bank has really been a game changer
  • 37:26 when it comes to refugee inclusion and enhancing their self-reliance and supporting host communities
  • 37:33 around the world.
  • 37:34 Also, thanks to Dorte for first, a great presentation, and for having initiated this discussion on
  • 37:41 insect and hydroponic farming in Africa.
  • 37:44 [Raouf Mazou] On your question, to come back to your question
  • 37:48 about the food security situation in refugee setting.
  • 37:52 First, there are about 84 million asylum seekers, refugees, and internally displaced persons
  • 37:59 around the world, a number which is unfortunately increasing as a result of conflict persecution.
  • 38:05 To have a better understanding of the trends, it's important to underline that there were
  • 38:12 about 25.2 million refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced person in 2011.
  • 38:16 So the number has more than tripled in 10 years.
  • 38:21 [Raouf Mazou] The food security situation of refugees and
  • 38:24 other internally displaced people I would say is precarious.
  • 38:28 Precarious, because they often live in precarious conditions in terms of access to land, employment,
  • 38:36 access to formal or informal social protection, and simply for not being able to plan their
  • 38:43 future, and everything that I will say today can actually apply to internally displaced
  • 38:49 people.
  • 38:50 [Raouf Mazou] So in 2021, some 11 million refugees across
  • 38:56 40 countries benefited from humanitarian support to meet their basic needs, including food
  • 39:04 assistance provided in kind or cash in close cooperation with our colleagues from the World
  • 39:09 Food Program.
  • 39:10 While at the overall humanitarian has been increasing due to an even faster increasing
  • 39:20 number of displaced person in need of assistance, gaps are widening.
  • 39:25 We have, for instance, been experiencing serious cuts, 20 to 60% in food ration or cash assistance
  • 39:33 in certain locations.
  • 39:35 [Raouf Mazou] The impact of food cuts on refugees as compared
  • 39:39 to host population in need is proportionately greater because they have limited opportunities
  • 39:46 to independently meet their basic needs due to legal barriers, including restriction on
  • 39:51 freedom of movement and encampment policies, limited right to work and livelihood opportunities,
  • 39:57 limited access to arable land.
  • 40:00 60% of refugees live in countries, where they have restricted rights to access land for
  • 40:07 agriculture and limited access to financial services.
  • 40:11 For instance, acute chronic and micronutrient malnutrition remains above emergency threshold
  • 40:18 and is a serious public health concern in refugee situation in several countries, including
  • 40:24 Ethiopia, Chad, Sudan, South Sudan, Niger and Bangladesh.
  • 40:29 [Raouf Mazou] The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the situation
  • 40:34 of refugees and other displaced people.
  • 40:38 Phone surveys conducted by UNHCR and the World Bank in eight countries found that access
  • 40:44 to food was a common concern for possibly displaced and host families throughout the
  • 40:51 pandemic.
  • 40:53 Host household were typically more likely to be able to access food than displaced household
  • 40:59 in Djibouti, Iraq, Kenya, Uganda, and Yemen.
  • 41:04 Food insecurity drastically increases protection risk for refugees.
  • 41:08 In eastern Chad for instance, as a result of limited food assistance, covering less than 50% of needs,
  • 41:17 limited livelihood opportunities and limited access to arable land,
  • 41:24 acute malnutrition has recently been recorded as higher than 19%.
  • 41:32 Ensuring protection risk include secondary migration and sexual exploitation among other
  • 41:41 negative coping strategies.
  • 41:43 [Raouf Mazou] Regarding the second part of your question
  • 41:46 on what we are doing to increase refugee self-reliance, the first thing is to stress that while 11
  • 41:55 million refugees receive humanitarian assistance in 2021, many more are fending for themselves,
  • 42:02 mainly in urban settings, often working in the informal sector.
  • 42:07 They have been greatly impacted by the lockdown measures imposed by governments to fight the
  • 42:13 spread of the virus.
  • 42:16 The main response to their needs is actually to push for the formalization of their role
  • 42:22 in economies, through the right to work.
  • 42:25 Close to 60% of refugees live in countries with restricted access in practice, to registering
  • 42:33 and operating a business.
  • 42:35 And 62% of refugees live in countries with restricted access to formal employment, and
  • 42:41 being able to contribute to social protection schemes would actually allow them access when
  • 42:48 they need support.
  • 42:50 [Raouf Mazou] The support provided to refugees and IDPs
  • 42:53 in camps and settlements is not sustainable and often not smart if in the long term, if,
  • 43:00 as it is unfortunately often the case, refugee situation last.
  • 43:05 Exile last on average 17 years.
  • 43:07 So we are expanding opportunities and partnership in line with the Global Compact on Refugees,
  • 43:14 which was adopted by the general assembly in December 2018 to enhance opportunities,
  • 43:19 to improve sustainable food security, a livelihood and income for refugees.
  • 43:25 In that, we're collaborating with the World Bank, with WFP, with the FAO, with the private
  • 43:31 sector companies, and many others to scale up the investments in agriculture and food
  • 43:38 systems ensuring the inclusion of refugees.
  • 43:42 [Simon Tulett] So just briefly, Raouf, where do you see the
  • 43:47 potential of these technologies in increasing the self-reliance of refugees?
  • 43:51 Does the UNHCR have plans to use insect farming or hydroponic farms in refugee settings in
  • 43:58 Africa?
  • 43:59 [Raouf Mazou] Absolutely.
  • 44:01 Insect farming and hydroponics are very exciting opportunities.
  • 44:04 You've heard from Dorte, you've heard from Talash, and it definitely has potentially
  • 44:12 in refugee context, benefiting both refugees and their host.
  • 44:16 These technologies can create climate resilience and livelihood opportunities, improve nutrition
  • 44:22 and address sustainable solutions to environmental challenges, such as waste management, especially
  • 44:28 in areas where water and land resources are scarce, which is often the case, as you said
  • 44:34 yourself in refugee setting.
  • 44:36 [Raouf Mazou] Among the biggest impacts of climate change
  • 44:40 is water scarcity and all the contamination of water due to floods, droughts, and other
  • 44:48 severe weather condition.
  • 44:50 For example, in Malawi, the overcrowded nature of the refugee camp of Dzaleka, which hosts
  • 44:57 51,000 people, and the limited availability of resources are major constraints for the
  • 45:03 effective management of solid waste, including organic waste, crop waste, household waste,
  • 45:09 manure and organic processing waste.
  • 45:11 At the same time, investment in agricultural development, solar power irrigation and food
  • 45:20 processing have taken place with funding from AFDB and Denmark.
  • 45:25 And demand for soil organic amendments is high in the refugee hosting areas.
  • 45:32 [Raouf Mazou] So there is opportunity to develop multi-sectoral
  • 45:36 solutions by capitalizing on the insect farming, agricultural development, and existing organic
  • 45:43 ways to improve livelihoods, nutrition and environmental management.
  • 45:47 Together with our partners, we are looking for inclusion of refugees in scalable climate-sensitive
  • 45:54 and market-oriented agricultural program globally.
  • 45:58 Agriculture remains one of the most important economic sectors for the continent, employing
  • 46:05 the majority of the population and accounting for 14% of GDP in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • 46:12 By ensuring refugees have access to such innovative technologies, we can support large number
  • 46:19 of households to improve their incomes, health, and nutrition, which again, leads to improved
  • 46:26 education, dignity, and freedom of choice.
  • 46:30 A point that was made earlier, agriculture is also a sector, which is often led by women.
  • 46:38 [Raouf Mazou] So in terms of plans, one thing you said,
  • 46:40 what are our plans to use this technology in Africa?
  • 46:45 As World Bank, as UNHCR we are joining forces to expand insect farming among refugees and
  • 46:52 host population.
  • 46:53 At least two location where insects, as we said earlier are already used for feed and
  • 46:58 fodder, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
  • 47:01 We are also planning to eventually expand to Kenya.
  • 47:05 I understand that earlier this week, our colleagues in Kenya visited Talash's farm, which she
  • 47:11 just described to us.
  • 47:13 [Raouf Mazou] So these initiatives are taking place in collaboration
  • 47:17 and partnership with local universities, research institutions and leading researchers.
  • 47:24 Support is foreseen for 75 refugees and host community farmers in each of the three countries
  • 47:32 in the initial phase.
  • 47:35 Several initiatives are already taking place, supported by UNHCR and partners to leverage
  • 47:40 these technologies in refugee setting in Africa and other regions there.
  • 47:45 Further investment, skills development, and availability of an enabling environment can
  • 47:51 help to significantly scale up these initiatives and their impacts.
  • 47:56 [Raouf Mazou] To conclude, just two examples, Zimbabwe,
  • 47:59 the high cost of imported feed, and you heard Talash talk about that in the context of Kenya,
  • 48:04 and import limitation for livestock rearing.
  • 48:07 In search of a solution to this challenge, UNHCR, World Vision and the Ministry of Agricultural
  • 48:14 have initiated a small pilot farm to produce insects for animal feed.
  • 48:20 The unit is producing limited quantities using limited resources available.
  • 48:25 Potential for scale up exists to reach refugees and host community who keep livestock.
  • 48:33 The technical support, market research and additional resources are required.
  • 48:38 [Raouf Mazou] In Kenya, the demand for animal feed has increased
  • 48:42 considerably in recent years, following a growing demand for meat in the country.
  • 48:47 Different initiatives are ongoing, including a cricket farming project in the Kakuma Refugee
  • 48:52 Camp by Danish Church Aid.
  • 48:56 In the long term, and upon gathering knowledge and data from the three countries, the idea
  • 49:03 is to scale up the approach and reach markets with feed and food beyond the respective countries
  • 49:09 and region.
  • 49:10 Back to you, Simon.
  • 49:11 [Simon Tulett] Thank you so much, Raouf.
  • 49:14 Talash, I'm going to come back to you now.
  • 49:16 I think we've got you back with us.
  • 49:18 It's just one of these things with virtual technology.
  • 49:21 We'd much rather be all together with you, but hopefully we can talk to you again, Talash.
  • 49:26 You were talking about setting up the farm and some of the challenges you faced.
  • 49:29 I wanted to pick up on one of the things that Dorte mentioned in her report, which is the
  • 49:35 cost of insect feed going below some of the more traditional feeds that farmers in Kenya
  • 49:42 might use.
  • 49:43 You are raising these black soldier flies, the prices you could charge are competitive,
  • 49:48 are they?
  • 49:49 I mean, how do they compare to the cost of, for example, soybeans that farmers might otherwise
  • 49:53 be using?
  • 49:54 [Talash Huijbers] There's been some very interesting trends
  • 49:58 in the last year.
  • 49:59 If you look at fish meal, fish meal has always been between a dollar to around a dollar 60
  • 50:06 in terms of price.
  • 50:07 So it is a very expensive input, but what it brings to the animals is worth it.
  • 50:12 Soy always comfortably sat at less than a dollar until last year.
  • 50:17 Zimbabwe, which...
  • 50:18 Not Zimbabwe, sorry.
  • 50:19 Zambia, which is one of the biggest soy growing regions in Eastern Africa, decided that they
  • 50:26 were not going to allow any more exports of soy to other regions.
  • 50:31 What this did to the price of soy is soy went from a very comfortable around 88 dollar cents
  • 50:36 to more than 1.3.
  • 50:38 So a dollar 30 per kilo.
  • 50:40 [Talash Huijbers] What this did was an immediate full rush in
  • 50:44 the price of animal feed.
  • 50:46 For example, dairy meal went from $25 per 70 kilo bag to around $34 per 70 kilo bag.
  • 50:53 This is $10 more for exactly the same input.
  • 50:57 The good thing with the black soldier fly is that the price is very stable.
  • 51:00 We're able to produce and keep it at around a dollar.
  • 51:03 So right now, it is the most competitive protein in the market and we think the price will
  • 51:09 just keep dropping as we achieve economies of scale.
  • 51:12 This provides stability, and also because it is a local protein alternative, it'll always
  • 51:17 be available as long as there is waste.
  • 51:20 [Simon Tulett] Talash, I mean, price is obviously a key driver
  • 51:26 for some of your customers, but is there anything else that you say to them to try and convince
  • 51:31 them that they should be using your insect feed as opposed to anything else?
  • 51:36 Do you get any resistance from some of the farmers?
  • 51:40 Is it difficult to try and convince them that insects are the way forward?
  • 51:42 [Talash Huijbers] When we first started, I'm also, I'm a visual
  • 51:46 learner.
  • 51:47 So I had to see the product in action, working before I could believe my own story.
  • 51:52 Where we are is in Lemoru.
  • 51:54 There's a lot of farmers there and our neighbor keeps pigs and chickens.
  • 51:58 So in 2018 in December, we asked him if we could take 10 of his pigs and start feeding
  • 52:03 them different ratios of black soldier flies.
  • 52:05 So he took aside 10 male piglets, and we started feeding them different ratios of black soldier
  • 52:10 flies.
  • 52:11 So a control with zero black soldier flies, a normal feed, and then a hundred percent
  • 52:15 black soldier flies, just out of curiosity and see if what we are reading in science
  • 52:20 and on Google and YouTube matched what was happening on the ground.
  • 52:23 [Talash Huijbers] After four months, our farmer was keeping
  • 52:26 track of what was happening.
  • 52:27 And he was like, "Okay, Talash, you have to come see these pigs."
  • 52:30 We go there often, but he was like, "No, no, you have to come and see these pigs."
  • 52:33 He took a normal piglet, I guess, and put it side by side with one of our piglets and
  • 52:39 our piglets were a lot...
  • 52:40 I guess, they're now pigs.
  • 52:42 They are a lot longer and they're already gaining weights.
  • 52:46 So what this did at four and a half months, the piglets that were fed 75% protein, 75%
  • 52:50 replacement of the traditional protein with black soldier flies, they were ready for market.
  • 52:57 They were 84 kilos, which is market ready.
  • 53:01 The ones that were fed the least amount of protein were ready in five and a half months.
  • 53:05 The reason that this is special is Lemoru is very cold.
  • 53:08 It's actually not ideal for cricket production, but we grow them inside vertically, is that
  • 53:14 takes six to eight months to grow where we are.
  • 53:16 [Talash Huijbers] So we saved him at least half a month of feeding
  • 53:19 on the lowest end and maybe four months of feeding on the highest end.
  • 53:24 He was very happy because this reduced the amount of input that he needed.
  • 53:28 He could also do an extra cycle per year, but the coolest thing, or the best thing that
  • 53:32 came out of this was because the pigs gained weight first length wise, and then got fat,
  • 53:38 they were very lean.
  • 53:40 Our farmer normally got $180 per pig.
  • 53:43 He got $350 per pig.
  • 53:44 So he was very happy and we were very happy because he saw it in action.
  • 53:48 Last year, we partnered with a lot of fish farmers.
  • 53:51 So catfish was taking 20 weeks to grow instead of 24 weeks to grow.
  • 53:57 So four weeks less of feeding for farmers can mean all the world of difference.
  • 54:02 So we don't have to actually tell farmers our story.
  • 54:04 They hear our story from around, and then they go searching.
  • 54:07 [Simon Tulett] Oh, wow.
  • 54:08 So it sounds like you've got a customer for life there, hopefully.
  • 54:13 Just on that point, just briefly Talash, if you would.
  • 54:17 I mean, what's the impact that you've seen of your farm and your insects on your farm
  • 54:23 itself, on your workers, on the surrounding communities, and the customers that you serve?
  • 54:27 How much of a benefit has it been?
  • 54:31 [Talash Huijbers] First of all, we're now a team.
  • 54:34 I just asked.
  • 54:35 We're a team of 78 people directly and indirectly.
  • 54:38 We've created 250 jobs over the last three years.
  • 54:42 So there are a lot of people involved in this.
  • 54:44 What we see in the greater communities, people are starting to understand more about waste
  • 54:49 and waste doesn't have to be an end step.
  • 54:51 You know, you can still get more out of your mango or the plastic can be recycled.
  • 54:55 So we're seeing a bit more circularity built into our systems, especially in markets.
  • 55:00 [Talash Huijbers] Everybody who works for us, I say, we kind
  • 55:03 of have a small cult mentality.
  • 55:06 They really believe in what we're doing.
  • 55:08 They understand.
  • 55:09 They also started to look at products differently.
  • 55:11 So what else can we get out of a tomato?
  • 55:15 What other insects is interesting?
  • 55:17 We're also looking now growing potentially grasshoppers because that's very popular in
  • 55:21 Uganda, but also has a lot of benefits on the folic acid side.
  • 55:25 [Talash Huijbers] So we're seeing a lot more innovation, not
  • 55:28 just in our space, but also in policy.
  • 55:31 We were one of the first companies to undertake such a project, meaning that we had to deal
  • 55:36 a lot with government.
  • 55:37 Lucky, some of the government agencies we worked very closely with, they were very receptive
  • 55:42 to new ideas.
  • 55:43 I mean, it was a very big change.
  • 55:45 For example, KWS, the Kenya Wildlife Service, the only insect you're legally allowed to
  • 55:51 grow is a butterfly, but that's a regulation from 1980.
  • 55:55 I was not even born in the 1980s.
  • 55:58 So now they're looking at all their laws and rules and regulations and seeing how they
  • 56:02 can change to keep up with the new, innovative environment Kenya.
  • 56:06 [Simon Tulett] Talash, thank you so much.
  • 56:09 Talash Huijbers.
  • 56:10 So for the final word, let's just spend a few minutes with Dorte Verner, the lead agricultural
  • 56:16 economist at the World Bank.
  • 56:18 Dorte, you developed, prepared and published this study.
  • 56:22 What motivated you?
  • 56:24 [Dorte Verner] What motivates me in my work, in whatever
  • 56:28 I do really, is the millions of children, families that don't have the access to nutritious
  • 56:35 food that we have.
  • 56:37 Poverty reduction in general.
  • 56:39 It became very clear to me when I started in my vocation really to travel around countries
  • 56:46 and visiting refugees.
  • 56:49 It became very clear to me that they're probably some of the most insecure people in the world
  • 56:53 like Raouf he also had mentioned, and also that they have a lot of skills.
  • 56:59 [Dorte Verner] Many of these refugees actually have an agricultural
  • 57:03 background.
  • 57:04 So they are just looking for ways to start producing food again, but many countries.
  • 57:10 They don't have the access to arable land, and some place, you can't even put a seed
  • 57:15 in the ground.
  • 57:16 So that's why hydroponic and insect farming are two such technology that doesn't require
  • 57:21 arable land and water, and it's actually portable.
  • 57:23 Small scale technology are portable so they can take them with them if they decide to
  • 57:28 go somewhere else.
  • 57:30 That's what motivates me.
  • 57:33 [Simon Tulett] Dorte, we've spoken a lot about the potential
  • 57:37 of these frontier technologies.
  • 57:39 Are there any countries that have successfully established a really prominent and powerful
  • 57:45 insect farming industry?
  • 57:47 And if so, how did they do it?
  • 57:49 [Dorte Verner] Yes, there is example and I mean, example
  • 57:56 that I believe there is one successful example and that is South Korea.
  • 58:01 South Korea, I think is a global industry leader for insect farming.
  • 58:07 It has developed fairly fast in the last few years.
  • 58:14 In 2019, they've already established 202,500 insect farms that are producing insect for
  • 58:22 food, feed, medicine and health products.
  • 58:25 This is just in less than a decade, right?
  • 58:28 They have created public-private partnership.
  • 58:31 They have trained farmers.
  • 58:33 They have provided access to fine lands.
  • 58:36 They have seriously invested in research and development and also helped developing the
  • 58:42 market for insect products.
  • 58:44 [Dorte Verner] And interesting, some of the research that
  • 58:47 really caught my eye, that is a lot in line with what Talash is mentioning in terms of
  • 58:52 nutrition both for people and animals is that hospital patients that have been consuming
  • 58:58 mealworm protein as part of their dire recovering from their illness have recovered faster than
  • 59:06 people that did not have access to this insect diet.
  • 59:11 This is in line with the health benefit that we've already heard.
  • 59:15 And that's why I'm so excited about the future and for everybody getting involved in this.
  • 59:22 I'm super excited about teaming up with Raouf and his team in UNHCR to do these pilots in
  • 59:29 Malawi, Zimbabwe, and in Kenya.
  • 59:33 Thank you very much.
  • 59:34 [Simon Tulett] Thank you very much, Dorte.
  • 59:37 Dorte Verner.
  • 59:38 And thanks to all of our panelists for the last hour, Talash Huijbers, Raouf Mazou and
  • 59:44 Martien van Nieuwkoop.
  • 59:45 [Simon Tulett] Dorte mentioned one of the countries leading
  • 59:49 the way in insect farming throughout the world.
  • 59:51 So to end today's event, we have a few words from South Korea.
  • 01:00:12 [Byunghong Park] [Speaking Korean]
  • 01:01:21 [Simon Tulett] Many thanks there to Byunghong Park and also
  • 01:02:14 to his team at the Rural Development Administration in South Korea, which supported the development
  • 01:02:20 of this World Bank report on insect farming and hydroponics in Africa.
  • 01:02:26 Thanks again to all of our speakers and to all of you who tuned in for this event.
  • 01:02:30 It'll be available as a replay at live.worldbank.org.
  • 01:02:35 And the report is available online.
  • 01:02:37 If you'd like to know more,
  • 01:02:38 just go to openknowledge.worldbank.org and search for it there.
  • 01:02:44 That's it for me and all of us here.
  • 01:02:46 Have a wonderful day.

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