Residents of Bugala island in Kalangala district have resorted to a modern way of farming by venturing into the black soldier fly larvae project.
The project was introduced by Ragu Farms as a legacy poverty eradication programme initiated by Kirunda Kivejinja, for economic transformation in villages.
Kivejinja is a former deputy prime minister. He died in 2020. Currently, the project has employed more than 100 farmers in Kalangala district.
Asha Birabwa, the project consultant, said the project is intended to eradicate poverty among islanders who did not venture into growing of oil palm.
“To change the lives of Ugandans, we do not need projects that require huge capital. We have to embrace small-scale projects that can be handled by low-income earners to improve their financial status,” Birabwa said.
She said the project intends to employ 2,400 families across the 84 islands that make up Kalangala district.
What are black soldier flies?
The black soldier flies are insects that were created to consume any decaying substance — animals, fruits or left over substances — to turn them into organic fertiliser.
The black soldier flies lay eggs on the substances which then hatch into larva. The larva then consumes the substances, which boost soil fertility. The laid eggs undergo a cycle of 45 days, turning into different stages — eggs, larvae, pupa and adults.
Farmers look after the eggs for 45 days, until they can be harvested. A farmer who has taken good care of these eggs can harvest nine to 20kgs.
A kilogramme costs sh2,000. After the 45 days of the first harvest, a farmer can then harvest on a weekly basis.
The eggs are always supplied by Ragu Farms, where each farmer gets three grammes. On average, every gram of eggs produces eight kilogrammes of larvae, if well fed.
The activity which communities perceive as disgusting since the common name for the larvae is ‘maggots’, is employing farmers. Farmers are organised in units.
One unit consists of 20 families engaged in black soldier fly farming.
Merisa Tushabe, one of the farmers from Banda landing site in Mugoye sub-county, said they walk long distances of 3km to Kagulube to pick up containers of feeds, but that the feeds are not enough to feed their insects.
“The containers are heavy and the distance is too long, making it difficult to carry enough feeds for our insects,” Tushabe said.
Every week, Ragu Farms spends between sh300,000 and sh400,000, on farmers in Kagulube unit.
Farmers save the money in different village savings groups while others purchase necessities, such as soap and sugar.