Larvae-based animal feed flying off shelves
Flies may be considered irritating and disgusting by many people, but one capital farmer has discovered the benefits they can offer to the agriculture sector.
The BSF Farm, located in Stung Meanchey I commune of the capital’s Meanchey district, is named for the initials of the black soldier fly, a protein rich species of fly. The farm raises and harvests the larvae of these specific flies to create a healthy, environmentally friendly form of animal feed.
BSF Farm owner Sao Sen Samnang said that raising flies provided innumerable benefits both for the environment and for agriculture, largely because of its high protein content, and that if farmers are skilled, it can easily be profitable.
“We started raising flies in 2018. Actually we were raising chickens and fish, but were looking for ways to reduce our production costs – by creating our own animal feed, in the form of flies. We weren’t able to produce enough feed for our animals, but I began to wonder about the possibility of focusing on raising flies,” he explained.
“I began to research who else was doing similar things. I discovered that “black soldier” fly farming operations existed in Europe already, and that people had tried to establish them here and in Vietnam. Eventually, I decided to learn as much as I could about the industry. I actually ended up studying in Vietnam and Malaysia,” he added.
The 35-year-old said that he immediately found success.
“When we began raising them, we enjoyed rapid benefits. They have been fantastic for the animals that are fed them – they are far healthier than they were previously,” he added.
“In addition, finding food for the larvae was also easy. When I first started in Ou Baek K’am, we were able to collect waste from Doeum Kor market without having to spend any money on food. We had to pay labour and transport costs, but it was still very profitable,” he continued.
He acknowledged that the main issue with raising flies on a large scale was the amount of food waste that was needed to feed them. In addition, additional labourers – and special training for them – may be required.
Samnang described the many benefits that the business provided to the environment and the agriculture sector.
“We help the environment by taking food waste and compost. Their waste can supply the farm, so each village or commune that has a fly farm will reduce the amount of garbage it generates,” he said.
“In addition, it is very beneficial to livestock. When the animal feed we produce is given to animals, they do not need additional protein. The feed can simply be mixed with some grains, and the animals will be healthy,” he added.
He explained that the feed could be used for a wide variety of livestock, including fish.
“It can even be used as a form of fertiliser. Once farmers understand the usefulness of this kind of operation, I believe they will all begin farming fly larvae,” he said.
He added that when he converted his own farm over to the production of flies, his income jumped to several thousand dollars a month, including the sales of feed, as well as “black soldier” fly eggs.
He encouraged all farmers to raise flies on a small scale to serve their own agricultural operations, especially if they are raising animals such as chickens, ducks or fish.
“Any farmer who has livestock should raise fillies, even if it is just on a small scale. They will find that they will spend far less on animal feed, and also reduce crop waste from their own cultivation,” he said.