Maggot farming is rapidly evolving from a simple hobby to a multi-million naira line of business, and entrepreneurs who are ready to pioneer the expansion of the new money making trend in Nigeria have the opportunity to make millions, according to experts.
Maggots come from flies. They are fly larvae, usually from the common housefly. When flies lay eggs, the eggs hatch into maggots before they metamorphoses into flies. Maggots are also called grubs and can grow between 4 to 12 mm in length depending on their stage of growth. Some maggot range from an off-white colour to a light brown, though some can be yellow or reddish colour.
We all know that animal feed cost is rising astronomically, and research has shown that maggots can be a good and suitable substitute for soybeans and fishmeal, which are core ingredients in animal feed. Maggots can be used to feed fish, poultry birds, ducks, pigs, ostrich, guinea fowl and other animals.
AgriProtein, a South African company, has pioneered maggot farming in Africa and they have set up the world’s largest fly farm, propelling the use of insects as livestock feed beyond academic theory to a commercial venture where they extract maggots to produce feed. Through their efforts and those of several other participants in the new industry, South Africa no longer uses fishmeal to prepare feed for livestock because they have estimated that if they continue to catch fish from the sea, by 2020 or 2025, fishes may go into extinction as consumers’ demand for livestock keep increasing.
At the recent first Insects to Feed World Conference, held in Wageningen, Netherlands, scientists revealed that insects promise to be an economically viable alternative source of high-quality livestock protein that leave a substantially smaller environmental footprint. They also emphasised the need to lessen the drain on the planet’s resources by decreasing consumption of expensive and unsustainable animal protein feeds as the human population is growing.
But in Nigeria, the new business opportunity is yet to be explored as people are still doubting it. But the truth is that there is money in maggots farming and it needs a little capital of between N35,000 and N40,000 to start after receiving training from an expert. Today, one of the biggest challenges facing livestock farming is cost of feed, hence, the best alternative to cut cost is rearing of maggots to feed the poultry birds and animals.
Speaking with the press, Richard Agbugba of Waste2Wealth Initiatives, a division of Rina Ventures, in Abuja, said there is need for farmers to embrace maggot farming because it would remove about 75 per cent cost of production both in fish and poultry farming.
According to him, “there is money in maggots’ farming because from Colorado to South Africa, the maggot market is heating up and helping solve the problem of ever soaring high cost of fish and soybean meals, which are the two most important ingredients in poultry, pork and fish feed production.”
He added: “So instead of incurring these huge costs, some forward looking entrepreneurs are turning to maggot farming through a technically designed self-harvesting bin – no mess, no smell! In the maggot bin, female flies lay about 500 eggs apiece daily. This produces an army of hungry larvae that eat their way through mounds of food waste. And they do eat fast! 1kg of fly eggs produces 380kg of larvae protein in just three days!”
There is no way an entrepreneur can keep up with demand for maggots. For instance, a 25kg bag of poultry feed costs N4,000 or more. Imagine producing 5-10 bags of magmeal (maggot meal) for a start! Even if one decides to sell at N2,500 per bag knowing that the maggots cost nothing to produce, the person is heading towards making millions in a few months.
Even though the sight of maggots writhing through rotten food or decomposing animal may trigger revulsion, the money to be made from the business is quite handsome. Maggots are one of the stages of development of insects, and the new breakthrough could place it at a very important pedestal on the food chain – important enough to save the world!
Scientists note that maggot protein produce better weight gain and less gizzard erosion for poultry and fish. The feed from maggot is more nutritious and helps pigs and chickens grow faster and bigger, which is what is being explored now in South Africa. Other countries are even inviting South Africa to come and replicate what they have done in their country.
This knowledge is already quickly catching on in Nigeria, and a few organisations are benefiting from it. While it is simple to rear maggots, it is important to seek training opportunities to set up and manage the maggot farm efficiently, safely and profitably.