Scaling up livestock farming with BSF’s

Scaling up livestock farming with BSF’s
lavae that later becomes into the Black Sodier Black

While most farmers are maundering with high prices of animal feeds on the market, Kanyazulu Farm has found its way around it through the production of protein feeds for animals in Black Soldier Fly Farming popularly known as BSFs.

Black Soldier Fly farming is a new type of farming in Malawi whereby farmers multiply Black Soldier Flies for the purpose of getting animal protein for the production of livestock feed.

The Black Soldier Flies are black in color and have the same structure as houseflies with little differences but the outstanding difference is they bring no harm as they are a good source of protein feed to the animals.

 Co-Director of Kanyazulu Farms Merra Kayira said raising poultry and other animals on the farm had been expensive before they discovered the use of protein animal protein from Black Soldier Flies.

“Previously the source of protein for the livestock feed was from soybean, fish meal and other protein rations which were expensive on the market,” said Kayira

Kayira holding the lavae of BSF

“I came across the Black Soldier Flies on the internet which said that the larvae are very nutritious to the animals especially when it comes to providing proteins, at the same time cheap as farmers can make them themselves.

“Being a new farm which has come into operation in 2021, we saw it as an advantage because the process is easy and it cuts most of the cost for feeding our animals” Kayira says.

He says for the past few months they have seen a change as the chickens are growing fast and healthy, and they are not taking time to lay eggs.

“We are positive that soon the local chickens will be all over this place because of the way they are laying eggs which are leading to fast multiplication of these chickens.

Kayira says the BSF larvae contain 40-65 percent crude proteins, 40 percent fat, and a high concentration of calcium; this is more nutritious to animals than the feed rations that are made from fish and soybean.

“One female lay 600-1000 eggs, and if we take one gram of BSFs eggs it will hatch 4kgs nutritious Larvae that can be fed to animals.

He adds that the advantage of the BSFs is that they only require minimal cost to start, as one needs small capital to purchase the larvae, a plastic basin, and non-treated mosquito net, additionally one can do this in their backyard.

He adds that apart from minimal cost the BSFs are hardy and can withstand extreme conditions. The BSFs life cycle is easy to understand and they feed on residual waste streams making it easy to rear.

Lavae that later becomes the Black Soldier Black

“The main requirement is water, warmth, light, and suitable humidity,” says Kayira.

Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) Biotechnology Researcher Dr. Kingdom Kwapata says the initiative that Kanyazulu farms have embarked on is a good one as it has the potential of transforming poultry and other livestock production in the country.

“This is a welcome development that we have such entrepreneurs who have started the whole exercise and they need to be encouraged, we are willing to work with them and I should encourage other farmers to start producing their own feed through technologies such as Black Soldier Flies,” Kwapata says.

He says protein supplement is the biggest cost for livestock production and much of the production is coming from soybean and it takes 60 percent of the production cost because it is expensive.

Kwapata says the new initiative and technology which is just emerging and LUANAR are in the process of intensifying its research under the biotechnology program.

“The research is aimed at finding the best method for growing it under Malawian conditions, we will also need to do a cost-benefit analysis to see how farmers are going to benefit. Before we start training farmers we need to be satisfied with our research findings.

“So that we are sure that what we are going to deliver to farmers has been proven by scientific methods that it will benefit them and that it is sustainable and viable,” says Kwapata.

He adds that what they are looking for is the best conditions maximum yields can be obtained and to look at the inputs that are required for the production of the black soldier flies so as to have a systematic production. 

Most of the smallholder farmers that are engaged in livestock farming do not do better with their farming due to the high cost of feeds but black flies can help to boost the farming system and the smallholder farmers can benefit a lot from these as they can reduce the cost of production.

Renowned Agricultural expert Tamani Nkhono has since welcomed the development saying it will help livestock farming considering that feeds at the moment are very expensive.

“When we talk of livestock farming, then the animal feed is one of the challenges we are having here in Malawi at the moment as it is very expensive as most farmers cannot manage to buy it from the shops.

“When we are having people finding innovative ways of promoting animal feed, it is something that needs to be encouraged and promoted and I believe that it can be well scaled up,” says Nkhono.