Industry and researchers have joined forces to develop the world’s first fully modular insect farm.
Funding has come from Innovate UK and Defra’s Farming Futures Research and Development Fund, with partners creating and assessing the 360 Farm. The aim is to tackle climate change, land overuse and food waste by using insects as a sustainable source of protein on commercial farms.
Harper Adams University principal investigator Dr Jane Eastham said: “This is a hugely exciting project, building upon the success of our commercial partner in Africa while drawing upon the multi-disciplinary expertise of academics at Harper Adams.
“As the project progresses, we expect that it will not only provide valuable insights commercially but will also widen our knowledge of alternative protein sources, their development and application.”
Flybox has successfully run projects in Kenya and the UK in partnership with local companies, NGOs and government.
Flybox’s modular technology will, in due course, aim to unlock the tremendous benefits of insect farming for an increasingly overstretched food supply chain. Insect farming has vast potential to reduce land and water use as well as address long-term food insecurity by reducing the world’s reliance on unstainable protein sources. However, in the UK, insect protein uptake is limited to specific industries, with farmers still waiting to reap the benefits it holds.
The new funding for the 360 Farm will enable the project to integrate seamlessly onto commercial poultry farms with a sustainable animal feed protein source.
Each stage in the insect farming process has its own bespoke, prefabricated component. Combined, they create a low-CAPEX system that would allow farms to produce their own insect protein for use in feed.
Andrea Jagodic, Flybox co-founder and CEO, said the company aimed to ease access to insect-farming technology, moving away from the era of centralised insect-farming facilities: “Now, with the funding provided by Innovate UK and Defra, we can push forward in our mission to facilitate sustainable farming practices and increase global food security by unlocking insect farming on a wider scale for farmers that desperately need solutions today.”