Friday, October 28, 2016

Venture Capitalists Betting On Insects As Animal Feed

From Agrimoney:

Investors swarm insect-farming sector
Could insects be the answer to growing demand for animal feed?

Booming global meat demand is fuelling a drive to find new sources of protein for livestock feeds. 
And now investors are piling into the insect meal sector, with at least $40m of venture capital recently invested in new companies. 

Investors in the sector include a number of venture capital firms, as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

And in early in 2016 the global bio-science company Intrexon acquired the insect-meal producer EnviroFlight for an undisclosed amount.

Fishmeal substitute
Insect meal is produced by collecting and drying fly larvae to produce a feed meal or pressing it to produce oil.

The product is seen as a cost effective alternative to soybeans or fishmeal, especially since the insects can be raised on biodegradable waste. 

This comes at a time that fishmeal has seen significant price increases due to supply restrictions and heightened demand.

Regulatory resistance
But although use of insect meal is permitted in some markets, including China and South Africa, there are regulatory hurdles to overcome in the western world.

Regulations in the EU and US currently ban insects from being used in animal feed due to the wider concerns associated with processed animal proteins (PAPs) being fed to other livestock. 

This is a hangover from the BSE outbreak, which was the result of animals being processed into feedmeal....
"Yup, I used to raise corn for ethanol. But then the topsoil blew away and I couldn't even get enough juice to run my tractor or get drunk on Saturday. Then this stranger came to town. Ordered something called a 'la-tay' and called himself a 'vee-cee.' Said he'd give me $20 million to come to Californee and herd algae. So we packed up our furniture in his little toy car and came west. Now I've got a regular bonanza of the slimy critters and the kids got shoes. Hain't looked over my shoulder back east since."
-from our post "Algaen Gothic

and now we circle back to the land-based stuff....
(and apologize to the Grant Wood estate)