According to the World Bank, in developing countries like Kenya, nearly two-thirds of its inhabitants live in slums which suffer from both sanitation and nutrition problems. But this situation can be stacked much differently by properly handling human waste most of which goes untreated because there are not enough toilets and some not cleaned out regularly.
David Auerbach co-founded Sanergy, a waste management franchise eight years ago to deal with sanitation by providing more toilets to at least 100,000 people daily. One Lilian Mbusia who operates a Sanergy’s franchise in Mukuru Kwa Ruben slum charges 5 Kenyan shillings to use her squat-toilets which are small blue barrels that, once full are sealed and transported to an organics recycling factory in Machakos County.
The mix of excrement and food waste is fed to black soldier fly larvae. For 10 days the larvae feast on 70% of the waste, leaving behind manure full of nitrogen and calcium, which becomes organic fertiliser. The fattened white larvae are boiled in hot water to kill off pathogens, then sold to animal feed millers who grind them into powder mixed with other ingredients to create a balanced diet for poultry, pigs and fish.
Kenyan farmer Victor Kyalo’s chickens have doubled the number of eggs they are laying ever since he started giving them high-quality animal feed from the Nairobi-based organics recycling company Sanergy. His customers can tell the difference in the past three weeks as the eggs have yellower yolks and are larger.
“Before we were getting like five trays (of eggs) per day, but now we are getting 10. It’s kind of perfect for me,” he said.
Businesses harvesting insects, either for human consumption or as animal feed, are growing as they are much environmentally friendly compared to the traditional ways. Fast food giant McDonald’s and U.S. agricultural powerhouse Cargill Inc are among many large companies studying using insects for chicken feed to reduce reliance on soy protein in the $400 billion-a-year animal feed business. Meticulous Research, a market research firm reports that by 2023 the global edible insect market could triple to $1.2 billion from current levels.