By Prudence Minayo
The prices of animal feeds have skyrocketed over the past few years with farmers looking for affordable and healthy ways to feed their animals. A new breed of entrepreneurs have emerged to capitalize on this demand by producing quality organic feeds. Nicholas Ndekei is one of the entrepreneurs behind Zihanga limited, a word coined from the phrase Zero hunger. He breeds black soldier fly (BSF) and uses them to manufacture quality organic feeds and fertilizers.
Here is his story as told by WoK.
In 2017, Nicholas and Brian Amenya met at Ridgeways Baptist church. They developed a friendship that morphed into a business partnership. They tried their hand in selling cabbage followed by chillies export but failed.
Black Soldier Fly
Nicholas joined United States International University for a Bachelor of Applied Science in Banking, Corporate, Finance and Securities Law. His economics lecturer, Dr. Paul Wachana mentioned cricket rearing on a number of occasions. This sparked an interest and he asking the lecturer to introduce him to this venture.
Eventually, Dr. Wachana introduced him to Dr. Chrysantus Tanga, who works at ICIPE (International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology).
Together with his friend Brian, he attended a training at ICIPE through the Rockefeller foundation. Instead of crickets like he thought, the training dubbed Y-Minds Connect, dealt with black soldier fly.
This is how they got interested in the farming and afterwards Dr. Tanga visited his farm. He approved of the slope and instructed that two green houses be established along with 1000 crates and 700 metal.
Nicholas and his friend began the business in 2020, registering it as Zihanga. During an interview with K24, he said that he pumped about Sh600,000 into the business with Dr. Tanga and a colleague through ICIPE and Rockefeller putting in Sh2.6 million. However, he added that this venture needs not to be that expensive since one can also begin with capital between Sh80,000 and Sh100,000. To get started, they received 40 kilograms of 5-day larvae from Icipe
He believes that BSF are very good for the environment. They are a better way of recycling wastes. This is because to nurture them, he uses wastes from slaughterhouses and food wastes from the market. They also use wastes from pigs and chicken together with the black soldier flies to produce fertilizer. Through the process, they are able to recycle about 20 tonnes of wastes per week.
“One man’s waste is my gold. I source waste to help in the production of the black solder fly eggs from Wangige market and in Ndumboini pig slaughterhouse in Kikuyu, Kiambu county,” he said in a past interview.
To make the organic fertilizer, the flies are allowed to feed on the wastes at different stages. By the last stage, they would have introduced enough nutrients to the wastes making it ideal for farming.
Their fertilizer is sold to strawberry, tomatoes, onions and cabbage farmers around the area. They also sell dried insects to be used as feeds for chicken, pig and fish farmers.
In a segment by Safaricom, Brian said that their fertiliser was tested at the University of Nairobi. It was found that it contains all the macro nutrients including: phosphorus, calcium, nitrogen, potassium and boron.