First insect farm in Saudi Arabia

22-03-2017 | |
Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

Insect producer AgriProtein has signed a deal with Saudi technology hub Sajt to build a commercial-scale production of insect-based animal feed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Sajt will use AgriProtein’s factory blueprint to build the first of three fly farms in Saudi Arabia, boosting food security and supporting Vision 2030.

Announcing the agreement the vice-president of Sajt explained: “The Kingdom is currently entirely reliant on imported feed for the burgeoning aquaculture and poultry industries. AgriProtein’s world-leading technology will help us to deliver on several Vision 2030 goals, as well as support the Ministry of Agriculture’s food security objectives. With AgriProtein, we can now produce sustainable, natural protein locally, and in time completely do away with reliance on imported feed.”

The world’s biggest fly-farmer, AgriProtein has developed a blueprint for mass-production of sustainable animal feeds as an alternative to fishmeal widely used in aquaculture and agriculture.

Said AgriProtein co-founder and CEO Jason Drew: “We’re delighted that Sajt shares our vision. Fishmeal production is destroying the marine environment. Replacing it with insect meal leaves more fish in the sea for human consumption, allows the oceans to heal and reduces greenhouse gases at every stage of the supply chain from point-of-catch to point-of-sale. We estimate an environmental cost saving of $US2,000 per tonne in reduced CO2.”

The partners believe this is the ideal time to launch the initiative. The Kingdom’s agricultural sector is predicted to rise to $US1.7 billion within the next four years. Farmed fish volumes are expected to reach one million tonnes per year and Saudi poultry production is set to increase 52% by 2018, driven by government plans to achieve self-sufficiency.

And with water conservation a key priority in the region, insect protein production is much more water-efficient than other protein production processes.

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Emmy Koeleman Freelance editor