There is a growing demand for insects as a source of protein in pet food, and photographer Tommy Trenchard visited a fly farm in Cape Town, South Africa, hoping to learn about the experience, according to BBC Arabic.
She launched the Maltinto Farm in 2018 in an industrial area on the edge of town, a far cry from its traditional rural counterparts.
Why do some people disgust eating insects even though they are food rich in protein?
However, every month it pumps out more than 10 tons of high-quality, high-protein fodder, most of which are intended for export abroad.
“You have a shortage of food, people are starving, and then you have a waste problem at the same time, so I started looking at how to rebalance that,” said Dean Smoreenberg, founder of the farm, referring to his inspiration for getting into the field.
Smoreenberg, a former management consultant, started a black soldier fly farm in his bathroom in 2016, before turning to the field.
This model is attractive to carbon-conscious consumers, as fly larvae feed on waste food products.
This process consumes less water and land than other types of protein production, and is less carbon intensive.
A 2020 study by researchers in Britain and Germany found that the global pet food market releases as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as the total emissions of the Philippines or Mozambique.
Instead of challenging the huge global soy or fishmeal industries that currently provide much of the world’s most affordable protein, the Maltinto Farm is looking to offer products that complement the flavor of pet food or complement the nutritional properties.
“Insects have much more value than just protein,” says Smoreenberg, noting that so-called antimicrobial peptides in fly larvae help improve gut health.
“There is no other type of crop in the world that can provide you with 52 annual seasons from one place,” he added.
The rapidly expanding Maltinto farm is divided into sections according to the different stages of the insects’ life cycle.
The pupae undergo a transformation process in a dark room on the ground floor before being moved to the upper floor of the breeding enclosure, where the adult flies lay their eggs under ultraviolet rays in mesh cages.
The farms for flies are considered to produce worms for feeding chickens and pigs.
“The engine room on the farm is the key if you want to consider it, and temperature and humidity are two of the most important things to make sure the product thrives,” says Dominic Malan, who is responsible for generating leads.
The incubator is located in a neighboring house where the eggs hatch and the product is distributed in small plastic containers filled with feed, then stacked in temperature-controlled rooms where they grow at an unusual rate.
“We put 0.5g of these little ones in, and after six days they had grown to 4kg,” says Malan. “They are voracious feeders.”
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