Feed – Insects
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Waste not want not say brothers behind alternative protein source
he search for alternative sources of protein has created a new breed of entrepreneurs, whose business acumen is matched by their eco passion. Fitting this mould perfectly is Jason Drew, co-founder of a fast growing South African based venture that makes feed from black soldier ﬂies. Described by his brother and partner David as ‘a militant environmentalist’, Jason said he prefers ‘environmental capitalist’. ‘In the industrial revolution you had to be schizophrenic to be an environmentalist and a capitalist. In the sustainability revolution, which we’re in, you need to be both. ‘Any environmentalist who doesn’t understand the markets will fail in their endeavours…and any business person who doesn’t understand that their business is subservient to the environment will fail in their ambitions.’ The Drews set up their insects for feed enterprise AgiProtein in 2009, to produce protein for poultry and ﬁsh, and since then it has evolved from a laboratory pilot to an expanding international concern, with the prospect of ﬂy factories on almost every continent. Jason is probably not exaggerating when he says: ‘I think we’re in with a chance of causing quite a revolution as an industry in the protein supply side.’ His company, which began commercial production last year, is certainly in the forefront of the insect meal revolution. AgiProtein’s factory north of Cape Town is the world’s largest ﬂy farm, using 8.5 billion ﬂies to turn 250 tonnes of waste a day into 14 tonnes of MagMeal and six tonnes MagOil, just over 5,000 tonnes a year. Last month, further investment of US$17.5 million increased the company’s worth to $117 million, making it the most valuable in its sector, and enabling its further global expansion. ‘Other people are doing things in diﬀerent parts
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of the world,’ said Jason, ‘but we just got to the point where we were conﬁdent enough to be able to scale.’ He said they are using their 9,000sq ft factory in South Africa as a model, rolling it out to a number of diﬀerent locations, mainly through licensing. The ﬁrm now has a presence in North and South America, Asia and Europe, with another three plants under licence in Africa, and has recently granted the Australian Twynam Group licences to build 20 ﬂy factories across the Australasian region. The brothers also won an AUD 450,000 environmental award in Australia, which David
Clockwise from above: Jason (top) and David Drew; maggots; cage of black soldier ﬂies.
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