Alternative protein feeds to replace soybeans, fish

22Jan 2022
Henry Mwangonde
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Alternative protein feeds to replace soybeans, fish

​​​​​​​RESEARCH conducted in Tanzania has come up with alternative new sources of proteins for animal feeds to replace costly and scarce soybeans and sardines.

Prof Faustin Lekule.

The local project was coordinated by Larive International, a biotechnology company based in the Netherlands, collaborating with Transcend Co. Ltd of Dar es Salaam with Prof Faustin Lekule, a veteran researcher with the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) as a consultant for the project.

If scaled-up countrywide, the technology is billed to revolutionize poultry and aquaculture sub-sectors which suffer heavily due to lack of protein-rich raw materials, on the basis of remarks by Mashimba Ndaki, the minister for Livestock and Fisheries.

He told a workshop in Dar es Salaam yesterday to launch the study on the new technology, that there is a need to transfer the technology to farmers so that the gap on animal feeds is filled.

The production of soybeans is insufficient because it is also a regular food product while also needed for fish farming, therefore there is a gap for raw materials which affects the whole animal feed sector, he said.

The poultry and aquaculture industries employ about 4.5m people with Tanzania being among the top producing countries of aquaculture and poultry products in Africa, he stated, underlining that the ministry would provide expertise on scaling the technology so that it trickles down to farmers.

Prof Lekule said the technology involves developing new local sourcing strategies and improving self-sufficiency of feed resources, pointing out that the main raw materials used in the technology are fresh cattle blood, black soldier fly larvae, beer brewers’ yeast, and cashewnut rejects.

The report, ‘Unlocking the potential of circular proteins in animal feeds’ is funded by the Netherlands embassy working with a number of organizations, with ambassador Wiebe de Boer saying the Netherlands has a long history of working with Tanzanian institutions in developing poultry and aquaculture.

While soy is a popular mainstay in protein as a meat and milk alternative, the main part of soybeans produced in the United States and elsewhere is actually used for animal feeds.

In an agricultural economy that’s highly focused on the environment, experts are calling for a look beyond traditional animal proteins used in livestock feed to more sustainable alternatives. This leads to insect farms and even single-cell proteins, with the future of feed additives in rapid evolution, the consultant added.