By Abdulkarim Ssengendo
Livestock feeds often impact negatively on a farmers’s profit.
The last twonyears have even been worse with a war in Ukraine and COVID-19 outbreak that limited supplies. Maize bran which was previously sh700 shot up to sh1,500, taking costs out of reach for must farmers.
Julius Bigabwa, a renowned farmer and a resident of Kanyambeho village-Kiko town council in Kabarole district, found a new way to bridge the gap in what he termed as a more affordable and sustainable approach.
Through an internet search, Bigabwa landed on black soldier fly farming that can provide an alternative source of feed for his animals, fish and poultry.
When he inquired from his senior experts and friends, he was told the project is being implemented by many farmers across the globe. He immediately got started, and now has a handsome income.
Black flies lay eggs and they get maggots which they feed to poultry, animals and fish. According to Bigabwa, a black soldier fly can lay about 1,500-2,000 eggs a day.
Bigabwa is advising farmers to start rearing black soldier flies saying they produce good feeds which help animals to grow very fast.
How to start a black soldier fly farming
You start with constructing a cage, after putting their pupae. In the cage you put buckets where black soldier flies lay their eggs. From there you go to hatching the eggs. After hatching the eggs in 2-3 days you plant eggs into the mixture which a farmer can make themselves. He said they can use beer residues if it is not available and can use cow dung mixed with maize bran.
“For example 20kgs of cow dung you mix it with 7 kgs of maize bran and add about 3-5 litres of water depending on how the concentrate is. From there you plant the eggs or small lavi which will take about 3 days, from 3 days you harvest the maggots which are later harvested and fed to the animals.
He said the system is affordable, explaining that a small system can cost you around sh3 million to get a small cage where you can produce about 80kgs of maggots per day.
He currently has a cage which can accommodate 30 buckets but his plan is to expand into a bigger cage that can accommodate over 100 buckets. Bigabwa’s love for black soldier farming has grown for the earning he is yielding and encouraged farmers to venture into the business he said will provide a reliable, sustainable, safe and cost-effective source of proteins for their livestock, fish and poultry.
Bigabwa sells sh4000 for a kilo of maggots and can also sell pupae a kilo at sh60,000. “The venture is good because people are having a lot of problems where to get feed, these maggots are in high demand because they are 98% protein,” he said.
“One thing is animals grow fast. A pig that you would be selling at 6 months you will be able to sell at 4 months and there you have reduced the costs of feeding,” Bigabwa added.
A cut jerrycan full of Black soldier flies. Photos By Abdulkarim Ssengendo