AgriProtein, Christof Industries seal fly farm partnership

The South African insect-based feed producer has entered into a $10m partnership with Austria’s industrial construction and engineering company to roll out 100 fly farms by 2024.

AgriProtein, a maker of insect-based protein feed, has partnered with industrial construction and engineering company Christophe Industries, to build up to 25 fly farms a year, a total of 100 by 2024, the two companies said in a joint statement.

The blueprint for the factories was developed by Austria-based Christophe Industries, which will serve as AgriProtein’s engineering, procurement and construction partner under the terms of the $10 million partnership. AgriProtein plans on rolling out an additional 100 fly farms by 2027.

“The $10 million partnership will help bring insect protein into the mainstream of feeds used in aquaculture, poultry farming and pet food,” the companies said in the statement.

The announcement comes less than two months since AgriProtein raised $17.5 million in funding and on the heels of an industrial upgrade of its industrial plant in Cape Town, realized by Christophe Industries.

Founded in 2008, AgriProtein is the world’s biggest fly-farmer and leading waste-to-nutrient up-cycler, according to the statement. It rears fly larvae on an industrial scale on organic waste that would otherwise go to landfills and harvests the larvae to make high-protein animal feed products.

Its product MagMeal replaces fishmeal used in aquaculture and agriculture. “Replacing fishmeal with insect meal in animal feed allows the oceans to heal and reduces greenhouse gases at every stage of the chain from point-of-catch to point-of-sale,” AgriProtein’s chief executive and co-founder Jason Drew said.

The company’s contribution to reducing waste to landfill led to AgriProtein winning a place in the Global Cleantech 100 list in January. Last November, it also won a A$450,000 ($345,504; €327,412) award in Australia’s Blue Economy Challenge for offering a solution to the depletion of fish stocks in the Indian Ocean.

In addition to MagMeal, the company’s other products include MagOil, an omega-rich oil also intended for animal feed use and MagSoil, a compost for use in farming and horticulture.

“Using its armada of 8.5 billion flies, a standard fly farm will take in 250 tonnes of organic waste per day and produce nearly 5,000 tonnes of MagMeal and 2,000 tonnes of MagOil per year,” according to the statement. Currently, AgriProtein is able to up-cycle up to 91,000 tonnes of organic waste per year to produce up to 7,000 tonnes of insect meal and oil at its existing Cape Town plant.

AgriProtein uses black soldier flies (hermetia illucens) for its products, which unlike houseflies, avoid human habitations and are not considered a pest.

“Waste-to-nutrient technology is starting to get traction and price per tonne is key in the fight to repace fishmeal,” Drew said. “Christof’s expertise has enabled us to boost output and reduce costs, making us even more competitive and giving us a sound model for rapid global expansion.”