The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has reportedly invested around USD 2.5 million in Sanergy Inc., a U.S. sanitation startup in Nairobi that utilizes flies to process biowaste. The Japanese government agency intends to address the rising sanitation needs in Nairobi and also assist farmers in Kenya to produce more crops with a byproduct fertilizer.
For those unaware, Sanergy Inc. uses a circular economy approach which involves collecting excrement and other organic waste from places like farms, markets, and restaurants, and then converting the waste into useful products like feed and biofuel.
At its pilot plant, Sanergy already produces and sells insect feed, coined as KuzaPro, which is created from the larvae of black soldier flies that feed on the biowaste.
Sanergy also makes an organic crop fertilizer, which is sold in Kenya, using the residue that is left after feeding biowaste to the black soldier flies. Additionally, some of the residues are processed into biomass briquettes which are used for industrial boilers and some other heating applications.
Experts believe that the rising development of the alternative protein feed is due to its growing demand to produce more livestock as well as fish through aquaculture.
The Director-General of Japan International Cooperation Agency’s Private Sector Partnership and Finance Department Shohei Hara mentioned that the group is looking forward to expanding Sanergy's circular economy model that addresses various social problems, like agricultural productivity, food security, sanitation, and waste management, which are commonly faced by many countries in Africa.
As per JICA, the population of the Kenyan capital Nairobi is anticipated to grow from 3.04 million in 2009 to 5.94 million in 2030 due to which the production of biowaste is likely to increase from 1,848 tons to 3,990 tons per day.
Sanergy was started by three students of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology back in 2009 predominately to make hygienic sanitation accessible and affordable in urban slums across Nairobi. The company also intends to expand its reach to other cities in Africa and Southeast Asia.
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