April 15 - The idea of dining on roast chicken reared on blood-fed maggots may not sound too appetizing, but in South Africa one scientist and businessman believes that maggots represent the future for animal feed, if livestock is to be raised in a sustainable way. To demonstrate the idea's viability, David Drew has opened a maggot farm. Tara Cleary reports.
Fly maggots - to one British entrepreneur, the key to feeding livestock ... that feeds the world. David Drew is the managing director of AgriProtein Technologies, based in South Africa. He says the larvae of the common house fly are a viable alternative for making animal feed, which usually gets its protein from fishmeal. But the world's fish stocks are diminishing and Drew claims his concoction, called Magmeal, is a sustainable replacement All it takes is a healthy population of flies and thousands of litres of slaughterhouse blood. SOUNDBITE: DAVID DREW, MANAGING DIRECTOR, AGRIPROTEIN, SAYING (English): "There really isn't anything at the moment, there's some non-animal based alternatives, but really you need a protein that is animal based, and Magmeal is about all we've got, and I hope we can get it to work because we really need a solution to the fishmeal issue." Drew says the path from fly to animal feed is quick and easy. Fly eggs hatch after three days. The maggots are then immersed in blood where they feed and fatten up. They're then washed and harvested before being dried, and turned into pellets for animal food. And while they're growing, they're cleaning up waste. SOUNDBITE: DAVID DREW, MANAGING DIRECTOR, AGRIPROTEIN, SAYING (English): "We can use sources of energy, nutrients to grow our larvae that are a problem to get rid of. We use blood from abattoirs, it's a real problem for abattoirs to get rid of, we don't want to put them back into the soil to get in to the water table , so we take that and use it for good." And Drew's research is expanding thanks to funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They too see long-term potential in the much maligned maggot. Tara Cleary, Reuters.