Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Are you in Favour of Giving For Christmas?

There has been considerable discussion, on International Aid programmes and whether they should be cut back, in the face of tough economic times and budget constraints. As an Eco- Capitalist, one would expect me to be against this generosity. After all, for centuries we have used seemingly free markets to allocate hunger, starvation and death – why let charity interrupt that otherwise efficient process? It is perhaps because charity begins at home, that we should massively expand our foreign aid. Let me explain. 

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Monday, 19 November 2012

Agriprotein on SABC2 Tomorrow

AgriProtein will be on SABC2 tomorrow morning at 05.30 - in their AgriTV programme.

Popular daily agricultural television programmes AgriTV and Ulimo have joined forces in 2008 to form one dynamic television programme - Agriculture Today. This programme includes aspects from both shows and will focusses on educating and informing all farmers.
You may want to record it!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Flies Can Save The World - Just Stop Using Fish Meal

OUR GLOBAL food system is falling to pieces, yet we have solutions all around us.
We take for granted the fact that we should recycle our glass, news- papers, tin, plastic and water. But this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Click for Full Story

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Reading Matters - 8 Nov 2012 - Sue Grant-Marshall andJason Drew on his novel 'The Story of the Fly' (@AuthorJasonDrew)

itunes picReading Matters - 8 Nov 2012 - Sue Grant-Marshall andJason Drew on his novel 'The Story of the Fly' (@AuthorJasonDrew). Sue talks to Jason Drew about 'The Story of the Fly and how it could save the world'. Reading Matters hosted by Sue Grant-Marshall is broadcast on Thursdays from 10h00 to 10h30 (GMT+2). Radio Today broadcasts on 1485 AM in Johannesburg and nationally on DStv Audio Channel 169. Radio Today also streams on its website and on cell phones on Radio Today! Radio that Delivers!

Lets get busy repairing the future

Our current thinking is driven by an education system devised in the 17th century, systematised in the 19th century and rendered obsolete by the end of the industrial revolution. We are now in a race between understanding and disaster. Let me explain.

We are still teaching our children to think like products of the industrial revolution when that era of human development is over. Business schools still talk about win-win deals being the way forward when we all know that in almost every industrial revolution business deal there was a loser – the environment.

Life, we were taught, is about managing predictable patterns of change. That may have been true in our past but not any longer. Seemingly unpredictable change will become ever more commonplace as our natural world is changed by humans at a remarkable pace. Wining through the sustainability revolution is all about understanding the connectivity between seemingly unrelated business and eco-systems. This new thinking is what will determine the outcome of the revolution and indeed the 21st century for humankind.
We talk about not being able to see the wood for the trees. Never has a truer word been uttered about today’s relationship between humankind and our planet. A wonderful example of this is the story of how the wolf reforested Yellowstone National Park.

Hunters shot the last wolf in the park in the 1920s. The Aspen trees looked as beautiful as ever, but then in the 1980’s the woods started disappearing at an alarming rate. The wolf was then re-introduced to the Park from Canada and the trees came back.
The Aspen trees had matured and died as they do naturally– and whilst everyone could see the trees they did not look at the woods. Once the last wolf had been shot the Elk moved from the plains to the woods and grazed on the young saplings – so no new trees were establishing themselves.
Since the re-introduction of the wolf in 1995, the elk population has been reduced and their natural grazing habits have returned. The Elk, frightened of the wolves, no longer graze at the river edges or in woods but on the open plains. Young sapling aspen trees now survive and as they mature the woodlands are naturally re-establishing themselves. That is how the wolf helped reforest Yellowstone National Park!
As businesses struggle to shift from the industrial revolution to the sustainability revolution new industries are emerging and old ones dying off.  Companies like AgriProtein that recycle abattoir waste using fly larvae into sustainable feed for chicken and fish will devastate fishmeal producers and thereby help save our seas. Companies like Oxitec with their sterile insect programs will also, I hope, put traditional pesticide manufacturers out of business. These and many other sustainability revolution industries are blowing away industrial revolution businesses that have not adapted to the new world.
Businesses are desperate to attract talent that can think differently – and take away the ‘boxes’ that our educational system puts in our thinking. We need to get back closer to nature and understanding how we can define our future in terms of those ecosystems rather than trying to change ecosystems to fit our vision of the future.
We have to stop teaching and thinking linearly, like the machines that defined our experience of the Industrial revolution – and start thinking in systems and interconnectedness between business, human existence and nature. We need to teach our children and learn for ourselves 21st century values, and reset our goals and ambitions that were based on the unrealistic thinking of the past.
In any fight with nature mankind will loose – so we need to give up struggling and start understanding. 
Lets get busy repairing the future.

Jason J Drew

Monday, 29 October 2012

It is without doubt Africa’s Century

 Drew says Africa has the land, water and minerals that the world need and as the West declines and the East rises, Africa will be the new battleground of the superpowers.
Of the two billion additional people on our planet by 2050‚ half will be born in the slums of African cities – the rapid urbanisation means cities not only need to be sustainable but have to look at ways of providing housing for the growing population.

Click for Full Story

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Sustain our Africa: From maggots to marketing

Thursday was day two of the Sustain our Africa summit, Africa’s first big pow-wow about sustainability. The programme saw speakers and delegates grapple with important issues ranging from food sources to investment in sustainable business. From a man farming maggots to another trying to reform advertising, there were some invigorating ideas on the menu. By REBECCA DAVIS
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How Fly Farming May Help More Fish Stay In The Sea

What's the lowly house fly got to do with the $60 billion fish farming industry?

Quite a lot, says Jason Drew, a jet-setting British entrepreneur who is so enthusiastic about the potential of flies, he's just written a book called The Story of the Fly and How It Could Save the World. He thinks flies can solve one of aquaculture's most vexing issues: what to feed the growing ranks of farmed fish.

Click for the Full Story

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Turning a pest into protein

By Robyn Joubert

Rising feed costs have made chicken farmers look to unusual sources of protein – and you can’t get more unusual than maggots. Robyn Joubert reports.

Poultry producers in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands have initiated a trial to partly replace expensive chicken feed with home-grown, live maggots, or grubs. Currently, Croft Farm poultry producer and processor Chris Slater uses the bucket system to grow maggots. He has 15 such systems, each consisting of two stacked buckets. A layer of chicken litter topped with chicken offal is placed in the top bucket and holes drilled in the lids of both buckets, as well as the bottom of the top bucket.

Flies enter the top bucket and lay eggs, which hatch 20 days later (depending on temperature). The maggots eat the offal, and when they’re at the optimum weight, they burrow through the chicken litter and fall through the holes into the bucket below – “clean, fat and juicy,” as Slater puts it.Slater produces 10kg of maggots every three days which are fed live to the chickens. 

Costs nothing
“The maggots cost nothing to produce. We are re-using 10kg buckets that we get our marinade in; chicken litter from the houses; and chicken offal from the butchery. At the moment, 15kg of maggots save us purchasing 50kg of feed,” says Slater.
Highveld Farm free-range egg producer, Craig Alison has joined Slater. “With the cost of protein going the way it is, we have to look at alternative feed sources – and we as farmers have to work together,” he says.

In the Western Cape meanwhile, entrepreneurs David and Jason Drew are well down the path of commercialising maggot production at a pilot fly farm and larvae growth facility near Stellenbosch. Their business, AgriProtein Technologies, uses grubs to produce a dried, natural alternative to fish meal and poultry feed. 

Recycle waste
According to Jason Drew, fish meal costs about R3 650/t, and AgriProtein’s product competes with that. “However, fish stocks are under immense pressure. It’s also increasingly clear that we need to recycle our waste. Our protein is sustainable because we’re recycling waste nutrients as would happen in nature,” he adds. 

Nutrient recycling will become standard practice within a decade and ‘fly farming’ will become big business, he believes.
AgriProtein’s different fly programmes match the waste to the flies. For example, the domestic housefly or the blowfly utilises abattoir waste, while the black soldier fly prefers material such as manure and vegetable matter, which contain carbohydrates. 

Positive response
Response from the livestock industries has been extremely positive. “There is almost no way we can keep up with demand. Pre-production testing has recently been completed and we are looking in the coming year to industrialise our process and then to franchise and licence our technology to allow many more people to recycle their waste,” says Jason Drew. Desired output from the industrial process is 100t/day wet larvae or 28t dried larvae or Magmeal, the brand name of AgriProtein’s maggot feed. 

Grubs need to be harvested before they pupate when the protein content and digestibility is highest. A single female fly can lay 1 000 eggs a week, 1kg of which will turn into 380kg of protein within three days of hatching. Drew’s new book, The Story of The Fly and How it Could Save The World, co-authored with Justine Joseph, was recently launched. “It introduces the fly as a future hero that could help save the world by recycling waste nutrients and generating sustainable protein,” he explains.

“We must re-evaluate the fly and its role in nature.”

Monday, 15 October 2012

Friday, 12 October 2012


Jason Drew, the self confessed ‘environmental capitalist’, investor and author will be speaking at ‘Creative Innovation’ in Melbourne on November 28th
and 29th , and will be in the country for other speaking engagements and interviews from November 23rd -6th December inclusive whilst also launching his new book: ‘The Story Of The Fly and How It Could Save the World’.

Jason gives a unique business leaders view of the environment - its challenges for companies and individuals, as well as an insight into some of the remarkable, inspirational and profitable green businesses he has started and invested in both in Africa and Europe.

 “Australia is a natural destination for me”, says Drew. “Diptera is one the largest orders of insects, consisting of at least 150 000 described and unidentified species worldwide, with an estimated 30 000 species in Australia, I can’t wait, he added.”

Jason is a serial, now green, entrepreneur. He is a co-founder of AgriProtein a business that uses flies to recycle slaughterhouse waste and produce protein for animal feeds. He has also invested in Oxitec – a business that sells 300 million sterile Mosquitoes a year, profitably replacing harmful pesticides. Through these and other fascinating businesses, Jason is able to share his unique insights into sustainable businesses designed for the 21st century.

Jason recently addressed ‘Sustain Our Africa’ in Cape Town and argued that Africa has come of age with land, water and minerals and will become the new battleground for world superpowers.  

 After Australia, Jason heads to London in January to address a conference in-conjunction with the John Lewis Partnership looking at how urbanisation is defining a new phase in human civilisation citing Cities, Humanity and civilisation in building a greener future.

Jason’s new book “The Story of the Fly and How It Could Save the World” was recently launched to rave reviews in London including BBC Radio 4 and The Observer and will be launched in Australia in November.

To keep abreast of Jason’s latest movements, videos, news and views he has launched a new website ( which also includes a regularly updated and newsy blog designed to focus readers on topical angles for the environment’ future.

If you would like the ‘planet motivator’, Jason Drew, to address one of your meetings whilst he is in Australia (Sydney or Melbourne) then please contact by email:

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Could the Fly Save Humanity?

We take for granted the fact that we should recycle our glass, newspapers, tin and more recently plastic and water. Businesses and services have sprung up to enable us to achieve this. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Creating and discarding nutrients in the form of sewage, manure and abattoir blood has a far higher environmental impact. When we start to recycle these we will be truly on the path to some sustainability for our planet. As the old Yorkshire saying goes – where there is muck there is money. Let me explain.
Click for full Story

Monday, 1 October 2012

UK: Fly farming ‘can save the world’ says author Jason Drew

Jason Drew, author of The Story of the Fly and how it could save the World, believes that the insect, widely regarded as a pest, should be used to provide a protein-rich diet for chickens and fish.
Fly larvae provides a natural alternative to fishmeal as an animal feed - helping reduce the pressure on our overfished seas, he argues.

Click for full story

A fishy tale on global warming

Oslo - Fish are likely to get smaller on average by 2050 because global warming will cut the amount of oxygen in the oceans in a shift that may also mean dwindling catches, according to a study on Sunday.
Average maximum body weights for 600 types of marine fish, such as cod, plaice, halibut and flounder, would contract by 14-24 percent by 2050 from 2000 under a scenario of a quick rise in greenhouse gas emissions, it said.
“The reductions in body size will affect whole ecosystems,” lead author William Cheung of the University of British Columbia in Canada, told Reuters of the findings in the journal Nature Climate Change.
His team of scientists said a trend towards smaller sizes was “expected to have large implications” for ocean food webs and for human “fisheries and global protein supply.”
“The consequences of failing to curtail greenhouse gas emissions on marine ecosystems are likely to be larger than previously indicated,” the US and Canada-based scientists wrote.
They said global warming, blamed on human burning of fossil fuels, will make life harder for fish in the oceans largely because warmer water can hold less dissolved oxygen, vital for respiration and growth.
“As the fish grow bigger and bigger it will be difficult to get enough oxygen for growth. There is more demand for oxygen as the body grows. At some point the fish will stop growing,” Cheung said of the study, based on computer models.
As water gets warmer, it also gets lighter, limiting the mixing of oxygen from the surface layers towards the colder, denser layers where many fish live. Rising water temperatures would also add stresses to the metabolic rates of fish.
The scientists said fish stocks were likely to shift from the tropics towards cooler seas to the north and south.
Average maximum sizes of fish in the Indian Ocean were likely to shrink most, by 24 percent, followed by a decline of 20 percent in the Atlantic and 14 percent in the Pacific. The Indian Ocean has most tropical waters of the three.
The study said a computer model projected that ranges for most fish populations would shift towards the poles at a median rate of 27.5km to 36.4km a decade from 2000 to 2050.
Adding to climate change, other human factors “such as over-fishing and pollution, are likely to further exacerbate such impacts,” they wrote.
Cheung said the shrinking of fish would have big but unknown effects on marine food chains. Predator fish like cod that swallow prey whole would become less fearsome, perhaps allowing smaller species to thrive.
“Cod ... can only eat fish that can fit into their mouth. They are not like lions or tigers” that can attack animals that are larger than they are, he said.
The climate scenario used in the study would mean an increase in world temperatures of between 2 and 5.4 degrees Celsius by 2100, the second biggest gain of six scenarios used by the UN panel of climate experts.
“The results will be quite similar,” using other scenarios, Cheung said. - Reuters

Green Crush of The Week (Observer September 2012)

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Farmed insects could provide feed for livestock - Media Story

"The problem we have in Kenya, as in many other parts of Africa, is that animal feed is competing with human feed," Ayieko told SciDev.Net. For example, she said, near Lake Victoria, the poorest people depend on a small fish that used to be cheaper to purchase than most other foods. Now that this fish is being used as feed for fish farms and for pet stores, the price has gone up so only well-off consumers can buy it, she added. "The challenge will be mass rearing insects," she said.
Click here for the full story

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Carte Blanche Sunday 30th September 2012

Current Affairs programme Carte Blanche will be broadcasting a full report on Agriprotein on Sunday night. Agriprotein's' business is  leading the new industry of nutrient recycling. The company recycles abattoir waste using fly larvae into a high quality protein ( Larvae or 'Magmeal') that is sustainable, cost effective and competes with fish meal. Saving our seas one fish at a time.

Also featured on the programme is Jason Drew who has recently successfully launched his new book "The Story of the Fly and how it can Save the World" in London .

More details on Jason's Website

The Fly and How It Can Save The World

Radio Interview with Jason Drew than takes you behind the pesky reputation and inside the brain and body of the much misunderstood fly. It investigates the insect as a pest and how man has tried (tirelessly and often unsuccessfully) to kill it – exploring everything from how it walks on ceilings to how it survives Ice Ages and outsmarts all manner of fly swats, toxins and traps.

Click here to Listen to Interview

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Let Them Eat Fisheries Reports

You should believe little that is written on our fisheries – particularly where that is from NGO’s or Governments.  Instead you trust your instincts and open your eyes and understand what the markets are telling you. Then think again and the solutions seem obvious. Let me explain.

Fish don’t have votes but fishermen do, so will always come first. It is the job of politicians and the big business interests running our fishing industries to tell us its all ok and business as usual. It’s not.

Go to your local supermarket where you will find baby hake fillets and sole petite and a host of other smaller fish. Not because they are easier to catch or tastier but simply because we have eaten their parents. You don’t need to be a farmer to understand that eating your breeding stock is not a good thing. In fact the only full sized fish you are likely to see are farmed ones. A trout or salmon farm can use as much as 2.3kg of sea caught fish – ground up into fish meal - to grow just 1kg of fish – of which we only eat the fillets!.

Whilst it is true that huge strides have been made in the feed conversion ratios and that farmed salmon are more efficient at converting feed into protein than say poultry or cattle,  they still require more fish in than you get fish out. You are still better off eating the last fish in the sea than these farmed species.

Fish like Tilapia and Barramundi require far less marine protein and therefore have a lower impact. Still we take millions of tons of fish from our seas each year just to provide protein for out industrial farming operations.

When a single mature Tuna sold for $730,000 in Tokyo earlier this year – almost double last years record of $370,000.  It is the market telling us they are rarer that Rhino horns which sell  (illegally) for the same around $400,000 each.

When a fishing trawler rocks up on Cape Town’s Clifton Forth Beach everyone worries about the potential of an oil spill  that will devastate the lovely sandy beach. In this mad world no one thinks to questions what a Japanese trawler full Tuna from our South African territorial waters is doing there in the first place.

 We have already destroyed the greatest natural wonder of the sea world – the grand banks. They have banned fishing on the sea of Galilee because there are no fish left. When will we stop this madness and do the only thing we can do which is develop our marine protected areas.  Where areas of our seas have been declared off limits to all fishing, stocks recover, mature fish breed and the young when overcrowded swim out to open seas where they fill the fishermen’s nets sustainably.

In a world where resources not taken by one person will be taken by another there is no other solution to the issue of our seas. Instead of pawing over new car brochures deciding on what extras to add to their latest state purchased luxury car – our ministers should be busy implementing a comprehensive marine reserve system around South Africa and lobbying our neighbours to do the same.

Lets get busy repairing our future .

Jason Drew

Author of "The Protein Crunch – Civilization on the Brink" and the recently launched "The Story of the Fly and How it can Save the World"