About Solution

Problem Statement

Many people today are not aware about what feeds have been fed to the animals they consume and how they have been farmed. Worldwide, a number of these animals are fed on Genetically Modified (GM) soya bean, grains, and fishmeal. The fishmeal is derived from catches of small fish, the global supply of which is under duress due to overfishing in ocean and fresh water lakes2. In turn, this overfishing is causing severe depletion of ocean biodiversity, unsustainable food chains and leading to food security concerns. Currently, farmers involved in poultry and piggery in Uganda and East Africa spend a large portion of their income buying fishmeal (a derivative of freshwater Silverfish locally called Mukene) to use as a major protein source in poultry and piggery feeds. The competing need for silverfish for human consumption and feed industry is greatly reducing the profitability of the poultry and piggery industry and affecting production.  This is because fishmeal, which is the main protein ingredient in feed formulation is becoming more expensive due to scarcity and the unpredictable supply of silverfish from the freshwater lakes. Soya bean is an alternative protein source but it faces the same competition as food for humans and animal feed production hence making it expensive.   The feed industry in Uganda and East Africa is yet to try out alternative, potentially cheaper and sustainable protein sources to compliment or replace the fishmeal or soya bean. One of these alternatives could be insect derived protein and given the tropical climate, insects generally thrive in Uganda and East Africa. According to current research insects have been found to be high protein sources3 and have potentially smaller unit of protein production compared to animals. In Uganda, a number of insects thrive one of them being Cockroaches. Cockroaches are relatively big compared to other household insects, multiply fast and can be fed on household waste. They have also been found to be highly resilient insects spending weeks without food. They have potential for providing alternative protein that is much needed in the feed industry. 

 The key ingredients in the production of chicken and piggery feeds include: maize bran, rice bran, cotton seed cake, soya bean and /or fishmeal. But the seasonal nature of silverfish production and the direct competition (Gbola & Yvette, 2010)4 from humans as a source of food has led to scarcity of fishmeal as a protein additive in poultry, piggery and aquaculture feeds.  It has also led to acute feed formula adulterations where feed producers use less or poor quality fishmeal that does not meet the standard feed formulations for poultry, piggery and aquaculture.

This has led to low production in poultry and piggery industry forcing a number of commercial and household farmers out of the business. Silverfish price is highly influenced by the demand for it as food and the demand for it as an ingredient in poultry and piggery feeds. Currently silverfish is only found in Lake Victoria and Lake Kyoga and doesn’t exist in the other freshwater bodies. In addition to this, the fastest growing species of silverfish matures between 16-25 months (Manyala & Ojouk, 2007) as compared to cockroaches that take 6-12 months to mature. 1.1 The Market Opportunity
It is not ‘culturally proper’ to call the situation a famine, but there is definitely a shortage of animal feeds in Uganda. This is compounded by the scarcity of often-expensive fishmeal protein additive. Growing populations and incomes continue to drive livestock demand, which could grow as high as 50 percent in certain cities and towns in Uganda and East Africa.
There is an ever-increasing price of fishmeal due to increasing demand for fish by humans and feed industry. Due to almost nonexistent production of commercial silverfish in Uganda, the current natural sources from fresh water lakes are increasingly becoming unsustainable. This creates a market gap for potential alternatives into the protein feed additive space. 

 Project Goal

The overall objective of this project is to produce a sustainable alternative protein source for use in feeds for poultry, piggery, and aquaculture. This project will be run in two phases and each phase has specific objectives that contribute to the overall long term objective 

Specific Objectives for breeding and Laboratory Analytical phase 

To determine the optimal incubation, growth, feeding and breeding conditions for American Cockroaches (Periplaneta Americana). The results here will enable us to fabricate low cost cockroach incubators for commercial and household use

To ascertain the protein composition of the American cockroaches at the various stages of growth

To determine an optimal process for production of dry-matter protein from the cockroaches. This will help in drafting and documenting the protein production process as well as help in the prototyping of RoachProtein processors for household and commercial use.

To determine and obtain the feed formulation for the RoachProtein derived feeds for poultry, piggery and aquaculture.

To determine the unit cost of production of these feeds in comparison with the existing fishmeal derived feeds. 

 Proposed Innovation

In this project, we aim to produce an alternative protein feed additive from farmed Periplaneta Americana cockroaches. This protein will be a direct substitute to the fishmeal protein that is currently used in poultry, piggery, aquaculture and pet feed formulation in Uganda and East Africa. Cockroach is an alternative insect protein source, which can sustainably be reared by commercial feed producers and potentially at household level in Uganda. According to studies12, Cockroach protein has been measured to be between 62%-65% on a dry matter basis which is comparable to Silverfish at 65%. Cockroach fat content is higher especially compared to (defatted) soybean meal. The fastest growing species of silver fish matures between 16-25 months (Manyala & Ojouk, 2007) as compared to cockroaches that take 6-12 months13 to mature and a mature female lays an average of 800 eggs per year. In terms of weight, cockroaches have close to 1gram and silverfish has 0.5grams (The Pennsylavania State University, 2016).In the initial stages of this project, we will study and analyze the optimum processes for incubation, rearing and processing of cockroaches for protein to produce a protein additive to feeds for poultry, piggery and aquaculture. The outcome of the preliminary studies will be a documented incubation and cockroach rearing process, a prototype for cockroach incubation and rearing for domestic and commercial production, a potentially patentable protein derivation process and feed formulation for piggery, poultry and aquaculture.  

Having a direct alternative to the expensive fishmeal additive to feeds will directly increase the profitability of the poultry, piggery and aquaculture industry at household and commercial level, through reduced feed cost. Feed costs are the major costs within the poultry, piggery and aquaculture production chain. By reducing this one cost, there will be a considerable decrease in unit cost of production, thus leading to higher profitability and sustainability of this industry.  In the first year of this project, will do laboratory work that will involve, incubation and rearing of the cockroaches to determine the optimum breeding and rearing conditions, analyzing the protein content at various stages of growth, determining dry protein matter derivation process and calculating the unit cost of production for the protein derivative. We will run the first pilot study to produce this protein additive, and formulate cockroach protein feeds.   These formulated cockroach protein feeds will be tested on a demonstration farm having poultry and pigs to further study its impact on poultry and pigs. In this pilot, we hope to test the derived process for the production of this protein additive for households and commercially. We will  rear and multiply  Periplaneta Americana cockroaches, process them using our production process and formulate poultry and piggery feeds using our derived formulae



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