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Planet Earth

Welcome to the Fly Farm

Flies provide an alternative source of protein for seafood and poultry. 

fly-farm.jpg
Mmm...fly larvae. | Toby Murphy

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Jason Drew’s farm doesn’t include artisanal arugula or free-range livestock. His South African company, AgriProtein, grows flies. The pests have the same amino acids as more expensive commercial fish meal, making them an attractive protein source for poultry and fish farmers.

After the fly eggs hatch, the larvae feast on waste: leftovers from human food production like juice pulp, and slaughterhouse scraps like pork blood. Some of the larvae are then harvested, dried and pressed into different shapes as food for various seafood and poultry species. The larvae that escaped the food mill grow up and continue the cycle, laying eggs.

Two new factories in South Africa will each soon house 8.5 billion flies, and have a daily output of 30 tons of pressed larvae — fly farming on an unmatched scale.

[This article originally appeared in print as "You Want Flies With That?"]

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