Charles Odera is the director of Mixa Farm where they rear crickets and bake products that are enriched with crickets.
He developed an interest in cricket farming after working with a non-governmental organization on a project on cricket rearing.
Here is Odera’s story as told by WoK.
In an interview with Utmost Precision, Odera explained that his interest in cricket farming started when he attended a workshop on insect farming.
While at the workshop, he explained, he came across an NGO that wanted equipments that could be used in cricket rearing.
With his background in fabrication of materials that add value to agri-produce, he was approached by the NGO to join them as the project partner.
“While on that, at one particular time, they requested me to join a trip to South East Asia where a lot of crickets are being reared
“I realized that this was something good for my country, I could identify the business with my mother who is old but wants to do something… That’s how I became a cricket farmer,” Odera said.
Cricket baked products
While eating of insects such as crickets is rare in Kenya, Odera had to look for ways to make it not seem like a big deal.
Through his company, the entrepreneur introduced cricket baked products like bread, cookies and scones.
“When we ventured into it, we had to find a way of getting people the health benefits first without just eating crickets as a whole
“We came up with a way of drying the crickets, milling it into fine powder then we use it in baked materials,” Odera said.
At Mixa Farm, Odera and his team have majored on cricket bread which he says is their most-selling product.
They also make cricket powder which can be used as a food additive and baking bread.
“The majority of the customers don’t come from this area because most of them are enlightened on benefits of crickets to human health,” Odera said.
They deliver their products to customers in major cities like Nairobi and Mombasa through G4S and other carriers.
Odera cited the fact that cricket rearing is a new venture as the main challenge he has had to deal with.
As a result, he explained that incase of a problem, he has to identify by himself and sort it out as it is new even to agriculture officials.
“The fact that it is new is one of the major challenges. As much as I have seen it first hand in another country, I came back and did exactly that but it failed
“It failed because the environmental conditions are different; when I built the house, I had to do it over and over to suit the Kenyan system,” he explained.
Other challenges include diseases and low consumption of crickets.