By Olamide Tejuoso
Maggots are no longer some ugly sights they used to be, especially in agriculture; they have transcended from being disgusting and repulsive to being marketable. They are now significantly utilised in agriculture, creating a field itself through which farmers are making millions. Maggots are quite significant in feeding cats, fishes, and poultry birds, basically for its richness in protein, which in turn, boosts growth and weight. According to experts, fly droppings produce maggots. And in their droppings, they lay eggs, which later turn to flies.
According to a Daily Sun investigation, a South African company by the name of AgriProtein established the largest fly farm in the world, taking the use of insects as animal feed from a theoretical endeavour to a profitable business where they harvest maggots to manufacture feed. One thing researchers and experts have proved is that, maggot farming reduces the cost of production in livestock farming. This maggot being spoken of, is not just any maggot, but the one whose larvae produce black fly. This is because of the amazing capacity of the black soldier fly to convert almost any type of organic waste into protein, according to findings.
Meanwhile, not all countries are embracing black fly yet for maggot farming. For instance, in Nigeria, many organic farmers, especially those into poultry rely on their poultry droppings to breed maggots. However, research has proven that black soldier fly, maggot meal can be a great substitute for fishmeal or soybean meal, the primary components of animal feed. Maggot meal is a feed ingredient that can be combined with other ingredients to feed fishes, poultry, pigs, guinea pigs, and other animals. It has been gathered that feeding pigs and chicken with maggot meal, makes them especially bigger. Findings have it that some black soldier fly larvae can produce more protein in a single year than 3,000 acres of cattle or 130 acres of soybeans!
Investment in maggot or bug farming would go a long way in reducing the cost of feed globally, as maggots are cheap to reproduce even without adverse environmental consequences unlike fish meal, which depends on animal protein, whose price has gone up, or plant protein (soybean), which often demands more land, water and energy resources. There are also high hopes for maggot farming as it is already being explored in some nations, as a source of organic fertiliser. Some of the countries that have embraced maggot farming include: Zimbabwe, South Africa, Uganda, The Netherlands, United States of America, United Kingdom, India, and China. According to research, there are four products from bug farming, which are: magoil, magsoil, magmeal, and whole-dried larvae, as follows:
1. Magoil: Magoil is the refined fat that was taken out of the maggots and is very tasty to animals. At room temperature, it has a medium viscosity and a light golden brown colour. Like with any other vegetable or animal fat or oil, MagOil can be used for a number of animal feeds.
2. Magmeal: This is the main item, which is a high-protein meal made from dried, defatted maggots. It tastes somewhat nutty and has a dark, thick texture. MagMeal can be utilised like any other protein, including fishmeal, which is its closest nutritional equivalent, in a range of animal feeds. It is very helpful when feeding monogastric animals like fish, pigs, and chickens.
3. Magsoil: When maggots have recycled the nutrients in the organic waste, this is what is left over. It is a fine, uniform soil enhancer that is rich in nutrients, minerals, and bioavailable nitrogen. To enrich their soils, farmers utilise MagSoil, as an organic fertiliser.
4. Whole-dried larvae: These are the dried maggots that are sold in large quantities to small, organic growers and pet food business. It can be given to birds and reptiles that consume insects. In specially-designed diets for monogastric animals like chickens, pigs, and fish, it can also be employed as a source of protein and energy.