Israel invests in Indian novel biowaste-to-fish feed startup

Smart city Bhubaneswar seems on road to an innovative solution for its major challenge of sustainable waste disposal. A city-based startup Insectika Biotech Pvt Ltd has received a big investment push from an Israeli serial entrepreneur for the commercialization of its novel product of churning out insect larvae from household waste that can be used as fish and poultry feed.

The startup has developed India’s first auto-climatized and decentralized insect farming bioreactor to up-cycle municipal bio-waste and industrialize insect farming with affordability. It uses innovative technology to grow insect larvae in food or kitchen waste.

The bioreactor-based technology is highly efficient for economically-feasible mass production of insect larvae for the natural feed and biofuel industry and insect frass for the organic fertilizer industry.

Founder and CEO of Insectika Arun Kumar Das said the innovation will help up-cycle the municipal waste and augment natural feed for poultry, fish, shrimp, and pig farming. “This is a waste-to-value module. We take the wet waste and grow insect larvae by feeding the waste. When the larvae become half a cm in size, juicy with 40 percent protein and 20 percent fat, we supply them as feed. We have already started the production of larvae. We target to produce 100 tonne of feed per week,” he said.

The innovative technology has caught the attention of Israeli investor Benjamin Elad Rubin. The co-founder and CEO of Giggd, a disruptive freelancer accounting solution, Rubin has announced to invest INR 100 crore to scale up production.

Rubin recently met Housing and Urban Development Minister Usha Devi and the officials of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), which has agreed to supply wet waste. “Usually, insects love to feed on rubbish while chicken and fish love eating insects and humans love eating fish and chickens. Our collaboration with Insectika will enhance the natural process to industrial-scale insect farming using technology,” he said.

Apart from the larvae, the startup also plans to produce insect frass, a second-generation organic fertilizer, which will be contributing to enriching the soil and enhancing natural farming with better productivity. “The bioreactor technology can be replicated around the globe and augment biowaste management, food security, and employment creation. As part of our project, we will engage youth to collect household waste to the bioreactor,” Das said.

The firm has decided to decentralize the process and set up bioreactors near daily vegetable markets to reduce the cost of transportation, which is nearly 70 percent of the expenses the BMC is incurring for waste disposal. The bioreactors to be set up in an area of 170 sq ft can process the waste and produce larvae. Around 40 tonne of fish feed can be produced from the waste collected in Bhubaneswar per day, Das said.

Source: New Indian Express