Acholi: Farmers struggle to produce black soldier fly larvae
Breeding black soldier flies started in 2020 to manage waste or to reduce the volume of waste disposal in Gulu city and the entire region.
Gulu, December 15, 2022: Farmers in the Acholi sub-region are struggling to embrace the initiative of breeding black soldier flies to produce organic larvae (feeds) for poultry and fish farming.
The initiative is seen as a way of boosting agroecology farming systems in northern Uganda to address the use of GMO products.
Breeding black soldier flies started in 2020 to manage waste or to reduce the volume of waste disposal in Gulu city and the entire region. Over 500-600 kilograms of waste are collected every week for breeding black soldier flies to produce larvae for poultry and fish farmers in Acholi.
Gulu City and Gulu, Amuru, Omoro, Lamwo, Nwoya, Kitgum, Pader and Agago districts are getting support from Farm Radio International and Makerere university to yield the production level of farmers.
Over 10 farmer groups in Omoro District have embraced the production of the black soldier fly project: 5 groups of poultry farmers, 5 for fish farming, got trained to produce larvae.
Michael Omoya, a poultry farmer in Bwobomanam, Ongako sub-county in Omoro district who was trained to breed black soldier flies revealed that the project is good in promoting agroecology systems of farming.
However, he said climatic change is limiting the number of products which sometimes disturbs eggs hatched by the flies.
Joan Nakiyembe, an entomologist who is also a research assistant of the project under Makerere university agrees that the extremely hot weather can cause challenges in breeding, but advised farmers to be creative enough to fight weather changes, by sprinkling water as a remedy whenever it is hot.
David Opobo, a fish farmer who also doubles as Chairperson Pabbo Aquaculture Cooperative Society in Amuru district, revealed that over 35 groups of fish farmers are struggling to implement the program to feed their fish.
He narrated that they have been facing shortages of raw materials to produce quality feeds. He also further said they have been dwelling on supplementary feeds from leaves, vegetable, maize and rice brands to make feeds which are limiting the growth of fish.
“With the production of black soldier fly larvae, it will boost up the growth as there are a lot of nutrients in the larvae,” he noted.
Opobo, however, highlighted that there is high demand for fresh fish in the entire Amuru district and its neighbouring districts including the South Sudan border with multitudes of businesses.
According to him, over 200 hotels in Amuru buy fresh fish from them, making the market available for farmers.
“There are many challenges affecting the production of fish farming: poor improved quality supplies from operation wealth creation, a climatic change which reduced the level of water from fish ponds, lack of raw materials to make feeds available, price of feeds,” he said.
Solomon Rackara, councillor IV of Agonga ward, Laroo-Pece Division, Gulu City who is a poultry farmer revealed that there is limited knowledge of black soldier flies by local farmers.
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Rackara has over 2000 chickens on his farm.
Gulu University through the faculty of Agriculture is also embracing the breeding of black soldier flies.
According to Dr Collins Okello, a Dean at the faculty of agriculture, they are looking for alternatives to the compromise of disposing of unsold mango pulps to produce black soldier fly to make larvae for feeds to poultry and fish farmers.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), over 1.3 billion tons of edible foods, equivalent to a third of global production in the world, is waste collected annually.