Panuka Farm produces fresh vegetables in Zambia using agricultural techniques adapted to cimate change and combines productivity with biodiversity conservation. The company was presented in the...
Business Location: Accra, Ghana
Type: Limited Company
Year of Founding: 2018
Number of Employees: 3 managing members
CEO: Rose Oduro Serwaa
The Ghanaian biotech firm converts food waste into valuable products for Africa’s livestock feed industry. It aims to make organic fertiliser and animal feeds affordable, thus avoiding smallholder farmers, like Rose’s parents, to have to purchase expensive fertilisers and livestock feeds that are usually imported. The company estimates that animal farmers spend on average almost 70% of their budget on feeding their poultry, livestock and fish. West African Feeds Ltd. also supplements Africa’s food supply with climate shock resistant livestock feed alternatives and contributes to curbing greenhouse gas emissions due to food waste.
The company has developed an innovative production process that harnesses the immense potential of insect based bio-conversion. As its primary inputs, it sources post-production food waste from a carefully curated list of vetted food waste suppliers. Then, it processes the waste using farm raised black soldier ﬂy larvae (BSFL). During this stage, the waste is fed to BSFL that convert carbon dioxide (CO2) from the food waste into biomass. Lastly, the compost is separated from the BSFL.
West African Feeds converts over 2.5 tonnes of food waste per month that is sourced from sites such as restaurants, food producers and processors and markets. They are one of Africa’s leading companies that produces climate positive, insect based feed alternative and nutrition products.
Relationship with Smallholders
West African Feeds Ltd. helps the entities from which it sources bio-waste to facilitate their waste management in a positive and productive manner. The company also works with a team of 5 dedicated BSFL-out-growers to have a stable supply of high quality harvest insect. They offer an out-grower scheme that ensures the producers a 100% buy-back guarantee for their production and supports them in setting up a production site.
The company also contributes positively to local agricultural ventures by donating its organic compost to community gardening projects.
Products Covered and Markets
West African Feeds Ltd. is producing low-cost, high-protein feed base made from insects that constitute affordable alternatives to the typical proteins used for feeds. Its product range includes:
- Insect-based animal feed:
- EntoMeal is made from defatted BSFL that are mixed with amino acids, and is suitable for pet birds and reptiles.
- WAF Pellets are pelletized BSFL-based feeds formulated for quail, turkey, duck and poultry.
- Insect-based compost
- WAFert, an organic matter rich in carbon, chitin and soil microbes.BSFL-based hygiene products:
- WAF Oil is rich in fatty acids and lipids, with anti-microbial, -bacteria and-inflammatory properties.
- WAF-Lather is a luxurious hand-wash soap produced from BFSL oil.
West African Feeds Ltd. focuses on creating value for business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) markets. Their feed and oil products are sold on B2C markets to small-scale livestock and fish farmers as a local alternative to imported climate-neutral animal feed products. The company engages in B2B sales with feed millers and commercial scale poultry farms, who purchase insect-based protein power and oil in bulk and at wholesale quantities.
Innovations: Milestones and Expansion Plans
West African Feed Ltd. launched its operation with the grant that was awarded to Rose, its co-founder and CEO, who won in 2019 the first edition of the incubation programme “innov8GH” organised by the Ghana Innovation Hub. Throughout this 3-month entrepreneurship training programme, Rose has developed the business model and adapted it the market.
The company has also participated in the first edition of the Waste Recovery Innovation Challenge that was led by the Ghana Waste Recovery Platform. The grant support of 27,000 US dollars that was allocated by UNDP and the Embassy of Netherlands in Ghana has enabled the company to buy equipment. The production process has been eased and accelerated with the acquisition of a wet milling machine for cutting food waste into smaller and suitable pieces for the larvae to feed, a separating machine to pick the larvae from the compost and a dryer for drying the larvae.
West African Feed Ltd. recently started a project to explore the conversion of post-harvest waste from commercial farmers into compost products for urban gardening. The company successfully piloted this local, municipal level urban farm project with UNDP Ghana, where they donated over 500 kilograms of compost to household and backyard farm projects.
West African Feeds Ltd. is looking to expand its production and product range by partnering up with waste suppliers (farmers and food processors) to whom it will offer zero-waste management services. The company is also looking for strategic partners, including research institutions, to co-develop new product lines and further the growth and scale of edible insects in Africa’s sustainable agricultural industry.
Success Factors and Lessons Learned
West African Feeds Ltd. is leading the African agricultural industry towards an economically and environmentally sustainable future, all while tackling Africa’s livestock protein demand and strengthening food security. As a circular economy enterprise, it is working towards valorising food waste, reducing the contribution to landfills, mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and lowering production costs for animal farmers. Given its important contribution to climate adaptation and resilience building in Africa, in 2022, West African Feeds Ltd. was among one of the winners of the African Youth Adaptation Solutions Challenge, an annual competition and awards programme for youth-led micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
West African Feeds Ltd. has also participated in the second HortiFresh Female Business Accelerator Programme. During this 9-month training, they have gained essential entrepreneurial skills in business strategy and administration, sales and marketing, human resources and financial management. The company aims to continue to develop zero waste techniques to convert food waste into sustainable animal feed and high-quality compost by continuously developing new skills and knowledge.
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