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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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)