Pioneering steps: Black soldier fly farming in Ethiopia

Through icipe’s capacity building efforts, progress has been made in commencing research and development activities on black soldier flies, and by extension insects for feed, in Ethiopia. Between 28 June – 10 July, 2021, Eyob Kefeni, an Ethiopian PhD student at Hawassa University, undertook training at icipe on various components like trapping black soldier flies from the wild and mass production in the laboratory; processing the insects and formulating feed for poultry and fish. These skills enabled him to set up experiments at Hawassa University on the possibility of using black soldier flies in aquaculture farming in Ethiopia, as part of his doctoral research.

During a visit to Hawassa University in September 2021, icipe Director General, Dr Segenet Kelemu, provided insights on the value of black soldier fly farming as a source of alternative, more affordable and more nutritious food and feed, and biofertilisers. The DG observed the need for a science-led approach, supported by the right policies and awareness creation among major stakeholders.

A follow-up seminar presented in October at the University by Dr Menale Kassie, Head, icipe Social Sciences and Impact Assessment Unit, brought together 50 participants from academia, research centres and private public sectors under the topic: ‘Edible insects for sustainable feed and food security.’ The outcomes included ideas on strategies to introduce edible insects in Ethiopia; standards for insect production and processing, and for animal feed formulation; and collaboration opportunities among the stakeholders. Further, Hawassa University plans to include insect science research in its curriculum.