The simple, cheap, but effective idea of harvesting maggots and turning them into livestock feed has garnered a Cape Town agricultural company the Innovation Prize for Africa worth US$100 000.
AgriProtein Technologies beat ten other finalists from across the country to scoop the prize by developing a way to create livestock feed out of the bio-waste thrown out by abattoirs.
After allowing flies to lay eggs in the bio-waste, the resultant larvae, or maggots, are harvested and dried before being mixed with carbohydrates and starch to create food for chickens, crayfish, abalone and pigs, said AgriProtein Technologies cofounder Jason Drew on Wednesday.
Drew, who scooped the award at a gala dinner ceremony at the Mount Nelson Hotel on Monday night after coming first out of over 900 entrants, said a team of ten experts, including engineers, forensic scientists and animal nutritionists worked together to develop the animal feed protein.
It was “absolutely wonderful to be recognised as an African innovator”, he said.
“It was a great competition. It was a privilege to be amongst great African innovators.”
The IPA was founded by the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, focusing on building Africa’s capacity by investing in local entrepreneurship.
They had started in 2011 honouring and encouraging innovative achievements that contribute toward developing new products, increasing efficiency or saving costs in Africa.
AgriProtein Technologies winning innovation was selected according to its marketability, originality, scalability, social impact and clear business potential.
Drew said his company was already at a commercial production stage in order to provide farmers with affordable animal feed protein and the prize money would enable to expand to the rest of Africa.
“We are honoured by this remarkable recognition. We are passionate about expanding our business to recycle more waste nutrients and supply a natural protein to feed farm animals… helping sustainably feed our continent…this is an African contribution to sustainable agriculture for our planet,” he said.
The IPA 2013 awards also recognized two runners up for their contributions to African innovation.
In the business potential category, Tunisian innovators Hassine Labaied and Anis Aouini from Saphon Energy received US$ 25 000 for creating a bladeless wind turbine and in the social impact category, Senegalese innovator Sanoussi Diakite received US$ 25 000 for developing a thermal powered machine that husks five kilograms of fonia— a West African cereal— in just 8 minutes.
The IPA winners showcased African solutions to African challenges, said Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais, co-founder of the African Innovation Foundation and the IPA.
“It is time for private sector leaders, donors and governments to work together to invest in practical solutions that will sustain Africa’s economic growth,” said Bastos de Morais.
The call for applications for IPA 2014 will be announced in July 2013. For detailed information of competition categories, conditions of entry, and submission details visit: InnovationPrizeForAfrica.org http://www.innovationprizeforafrica.org