“People are aware of sustainability and are crying out for it. Some guy called me from Malawi the other day and said: ‘I need your product but I need to be able to grow my meal here because at the moment I have to rely on my fish meal arriving from the port. If there is a logistics problem and supplies don’t arrive, 140 000 chicken would die because I have nothing else to feed them. So if I can have control of my feed stock – having a fly and larvae farm right next to where I am, then I can rear larvae to feed my chicken at the point of use.’”
As Agriprotein works to scale-up production of Magmeal, the company is also partnering with the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and the University of Stellenbosch Animal Nutritional Department to create micro-production facilities for very small entrepreneurs in which they can produce Magmeal.
“I mean a guy and a bucket making larvae to feed maybe 10-15 chicken that he or she then sells at the local market. This philanthropic type of production roll-out will boost the sustainability of people’s lives in Africa,” says Drew.
Magmeal has been well-received in South Africa and beyond, and Agroprotein Technologies is looking forward to serving the industry with an entirely organic, sustainable and renewable alternative to fish meal.
Woolworths store in Cape Town’s Central Business District is directly opposite Drew’s office. The retailer is currently implementing an ambitious African expansion strategy. I ask Drew where he sees Agriprotein Technologies in five years.
“We will have a set of factories across the world making sustainable protein from waste sources. The top countries on the roll-out plan are South Africa, Germany (the German government has offered Agriprotein one million euros to set up a plant), UK and the United States, which has huge opportunities for us because of its big livestock industry,” says Drew.
Drew, a British national, is a serial entrepreneur who recognised the potential for growth in Africa long before the continent became ‘in vogue’ with international investors. In 2003, he established Dialogue Group, a very successful call centre business in South Africa, which he later listed on the JSE.
Would he employ the same strategy with Agriprotein? Drew chuckles heartily and turns to his computer to show me pictures of his three lovely sons. And flies and maggots.