Food security is a pertinent issue in the world. The increase in the world’s population and environmental overload has resulted in the need to rethink and restrategise methods and means of food consumption and production. Green technologies have become a key component in mitigating the impact of human activity on the environment. As most of its markets and economies are transitioning and growing, Africa still has the capability to build its industry on a green and sustainable model. Malian McGill University alumni Sadiki Sow is determined to make food security a reality and thanks to his brilliant ideas and Impact Hub Bamako, it is happening.
” By the year 2050, the world population is expected to reach 9.6 billion people. According to the FAO, an additional +2 billion people requires food production to double, which itself implies meat production and animal feed production to double. The African population itself represents more than half of that growth and will rise from 1.1 billon people in 2017 to 2.4 billion people by 2050. It has become urgent to find alternatives sources of animal feed which can meet that critical growing demand while respecting the environment”- Sadiki Sow
Sadiki is all about innovation and disruption. The engineer, economist and agribusiness consultant is founder of Protera farms, a company that converts agro-industrial bio-waste to produce insect protein powder for animal feed. They breed Black Soldier Flies to produce larvae (eggs) that they feed and grow using bio-waste coming from agro-industrial productions such as spent grains from breweries and fruit peelings from natural juice companies. The process generates three products: A protein rich larvae which is an eco-friendly and sustainable substitute to crops & fishmeal in poultry farming and aquaculture feed. An insect oil extracted from the fat content of the larvae (that has the same properties as biodiesel) as a substitute for vegetal (palm) oil in animal feed. The remainder of the bio-waste after insects feed and discharge on it is made into bio-fertilizer.
The Black Soldier Flies fall under the category of Edible Insects approved by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation. The insects are not only a source of complete nutrition but according to Sadiki, they are also very efficient in resource use significantly less water, soil, and feed and emit very little greenhouse gases to produce up to thrice as much protein as meat and crops. That, coupled with feeding Black Soldier Flies with low-cost agro-industrial bio-waste makes insect breeding a profitable business activity.
Participating in the HEC Social Business Creation competition facilitated by HEC Montreal and Grameen Foundation as well as taking part in the Next Economy hosted by Impact Hub Bamako partnering with Enviu and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Netherlands helped Sadiki take his Startup from ideation phase to growth stage. He used the two incubators to clearly define all the contours of the idea and managed to transform it from an idea to a complete business plan with an inputs stream, production process and clients identified and approached. As a result, he won the first prize at HEC SBC and successfully completed The Next Economy. To top it all off, Sadiki managed to crowdfund $14 000 and he got himself an executive team and a council of world renowned advisors and mentors. Shortly after, he was selected as one of the global top 5 winners of Accelerate 2030, went to Geneva to pitch at the UNDP Social Good Summit. Sadiki subsequently entered a 9-month support program with the Boston Consulting Group, Dalberg Global Development and Sidley Austin LLP.
“As a proud African who was privileged to have a world class prestigious education and professional training, it is my duty to employ all my energy and time in the accomplishment of beneficial initiatives for the continents and humanity in general.” – Sadiki Sow
Armed with more expertise and a brilliant team, Protera farms has decided to establish a pilot facility in Abidjan, Ivory Coast because of the availability of input, the favorable climate for the insect and the higher price for the final product. The venture is currently raising $500 000 to establish the pilot project through grants and angel investment as well as discussing partnership with a consulting company that bring 25 years of experience in the biology of the Black Soldier Fly. Passion for impact and networks to help one get there are a good combo. Protera farms is a social impact venture that is determined to improve food production and preserve the environment.