The UAE hosts the first project in the region that uses insects to produce feed from organic waste

The Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Maryam bint Mohammed Al Muhairi, launched the first project in the region to recycle organic waste and use it in the production of animal and fish feed using insects, with the aim of providing sustainable economic opportunities by addressing the challenges resulting from the accumulation of waste in natural ways by recycling organic waste and using it in Feed production. 

The project relies on the cultivation and use of "black soldier fly" insects that feed on food scraps, then themselves become animal feed, and their waste turns into organic fertilizer that is converted into animal feed and proteins, organic fertilizers, and industrial oils.

The ministry had signed a memorandum of understanding with Circa Biotech, to set up the first project in the region to use insects to produce feed from organic waste.

The signing of the agreement followed a tour of the company's headquarters in Masdar City in Abu Dhabi.

Al Muhairi said, "This agreement comes within the framework of the UAE's continuous efforts to achieve sustainable food security based on innovation, green development, and reduce the effects of climate change. One of the innovative solutions to achieve these trends is to address the challenges resulting from the accumulation of waste by relying on nature-based solutions." Its role is to create sustainable economic opportunities that enhance the resilience of food supply chains by transforming waste from an environmental burden into an economic resource.”

She added: "The world is witnessing an increase in capital financing for insect breeding companies, and we consider in the UAE that support for innovation, research and development is a basis for enhancing the efficiency of the circular economy principle, which is achieved through practices such as the use of organic waste and its nutritional elements as inputs in the food production process, which leads to strengthening Food security, which requires us to develop a roadmap to facilitate and improve government services in importing agricultural inputs to enable the manufacturing industries used for insect protein, and thus contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of the agricultural sector by providing sustainable protein alternatives within the production processes of organic feed and fertilizers, and contributing to the diversion of organic waste from landfills and reduce methane emissions resulting from the decomposition of organic matter.

Mohamed Al Ramahi, CEO of Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company - Masdar, said: “Research and development is one of the most important strategic priorities of Masdar, to enhance its position as a major center for the most advanced sustainability projects globally, and through partnership with the Ministry and Circa Biotech Ltd., we are pleased to host the first project in the region to manage Food waste, which represents one of the leading innovative solutions whose role is to strengthen the agricultural and food technology sector.”

Haitham Al-Riyahi, co-founder and CEO of Circa Biotech Limited, said:

Through the project, Circa Biotech Limited will produce organic fertilizers at a rate of 1.5 tons per month, and will later expand its production by treating 200 tons of food waste per day and recycling it into the food value chain to contribute to meeting the increasing local demand for animal feed for livestock, and reducing dependence on powders. Fish in the aquaculture industry, which is witnessing instability and an increase in prices due to the scarcity of supply, knowing that its cost reaches 70% of the cost of the aquaculture industry. 

The produced feed is characterized by its richness in proteins, fats, minerals and vitamins and its high nutritional value, and the possibility of harvesting the larvae every 14 days due to the short life cycle of the fly, which lasts 45 days, and the high fertility that it enjoys, and the fact that it does not carry diseases and does not cause any damage or pests, and it is a non-invasive species. It is controlled within an industrially controlled environment, with sensors that record real-time temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide, and within well-thought-out lighting that ensures optimal use of resources and low water consumption amid low impacts of climate change and emissions.

The first goal of Circa Biotech Limited, which has previously participated in several entrepreneurship competitions in the UAE, is to improve the management of organic waste in megacities, especially organic waste that is directly disposed of in landfills, as the share of each person in the UAE is about 197 kg. of food waste annually, can be processed to produce high-quality organic fertilizers used in aquaculture and animal production near these cities.

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