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Mass Production of Farmed Insects: Sourcing Nutrition, Employment and Action for Development in Rural Democratic Republic of Congo.

We would like to create a business that will farm insect for a mass production.

Photo of Albert Lukunga Lumu
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Lead Applicant Organization Name

Congo Global Corporation sarl

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 1-3 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

Kinshasa

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

The Democratic Republic of Congo

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

400 acres

What country is your selected Place located in?

The Democratic Republic of Congo

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

My name is Albert Lumu and I am from the Democratic Republic of Congo. I grew up there and attained a degree in economics at the University of Kinshasa. My degree opened many doors and I began to work in different organizations. It started with an internship at the World Bank in Congo, after I was able to work in the world’s largest container shipping company, Maersk Line and I was even promoted to manager. Before that, I worked at the “Commission nationale de Demobilisation et Reinsertion sociale,” which was a World Bank funded program. Thanks to this program, I travelled across the Congo and learned about the reality which my people face. By interacting with the locals, I realized that there is a complex issue which must be eradicated. I decided to stand up for the people and to create my own company, “Congo Global Corporation sarl”, which has been identified as a legitimate business according to corporate law in the DRC, since 2012. This inspired me to pursue my education in North America, where online businesses thrive. From 2016 to earlier 2019, I attended Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Michigan and I have recently been accepted into a Master’s in Business Administration program at Phoenix University.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

Congo, land of warlords Sadly, it has been over 20 years which the Democratic Republic of Congo has faced violence. Militias and war have become common. As the nation was invaded, natural resources were also controlled by outsiders. The State lost control over everything, and the development of the country came to a halt. This resulted in a depreciating economy. Another issue, is the humanitarian crisis in the Congo. Citizens perish due to widespread disease, famine and violence daily. Now, the people are escaping the country either willingly or forcibly. Congo, land of opportunity These issues are not solely happening to the Congo, they are occurring throughout Africa and the Congo is surrounded by crisis. Despite the issues which arose however, other African nations have proved that they will fight for their lives through commerce. Business’ of all sizes have been created in this developing continent. The Congo is in central Africa, its geographical position remains a land of investment and business opportunities. Africa is known for traditional mining resources, like cobalt etc, however, this field has been exhausted by international businesses. Nevertheless, there still lies opportunity not only below the soil but crawling around… Insects. This is a new agricultural opportunity. As the world learns more about climate change and global warming, sources of food are diminishing. Insects could be the answer to eradicate global hunger and more. The Democratic Republic of Congo can be a grandiose business opportunity, the country’s area spans out. Simply looking at a map, one will note that it is one of the biggest countries in Africa (its size is equivalent to Spain, France, Germany, Sweden and Norway combined). Also, DRC has a population of 80 million people.

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?

80000000

Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Although the Congolese are already eating different types of insects, the main issue is that insects are not only seasonal, but also are not sufficient to meet the need of our 80 million inhabitants. Therefore, a project was created to make an industrial standardized insect method for agricultural purposes. This project has two aims, firstly, to produce edible insects and secondly, to create products which will contain the protein from the insects. This will be a reliable source of protein and nutrition for children and adults. Our goal is to make this organization into a company with a long-lasting impact on the Congo and ourselves. To achieve our target: - we expect to have our large centralized plants installed in Kasai, the central provinces of the country with regional and distributed production nodes located across all countries. - In Congo people like having happy hour or enjoying their weekend in pubs or restaurant where grilled meats (goat, chicken, mutton…) are served. We are thinking of adapting this type of pubs or restaurant where only insects and their derived products are served. - We plan to develop this activity by creating a kind of franchise for anyone who wants to do a resale activity of our products as just like the North American food distribution such as Macdonald. - We have the ambition not only to feed the DRC, but also in the short to medium term to feed the neighboring countries of the DRC as well as feed all the African continent in to medium to a long term. 6. Why do we need you? We have a variety of edible insects in Congo, but the one problem is those insects are seasonal. For example, in the province of Kasai where we’re planning to have our Headquarter, several species appear in December and early January. One of them, “NSUA,” comes out only during the night (usually during the Christmas week) when the moon is full. So, our urgent concern is: - To learn how to farm the insects in the purpose of having an extended production throughout the year. - We also need practical training, and shadowing on how to practice insect agriculture. - We would like to have access to the various technological resources for an industrial transformation. - How/where to have modern equipment that can be used for mass production - How/where to get equipment for processing derived products (grind, powder…) Additionally, I was very pleased to discover that North Americans have started to learn more about insect protein powders and fats and their interesting characteristics. This information ensures that our company can thrive by learning more about this respective field.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

My vision will address malnutrition challenges in Congo by producing insects and their derived product. Why? Consuming insects has several advantages: • They have high feed-conversion efficiency • They can be reared on organic side streams, reducing environmental contamination, while adding value to waste. • They emit relatively little ammonia. • They require significantly less water than cattle rearing. • They have few animal welfares issues, although the extent to which insects experieThe animal based proteins and vitamins that the human body needs is out of price for the vast majority of people (most of them live with an average of 1 us per day for a single family of 5 persons.)Therefore, it’s imperative to find other sources of protein that could provide the Congolese population with the nutrients their bodies require. Insects are healthy, nutritious alternatives to mainstream staples such as chicken, pork, beef and even fish. Many insects are rich in protein and good fats and high in calcium, iron and zinc. Protein and other nutritional deficiencies are typically more widespread in disadvantaged segments of society and during times of social conflict and natural disaster. Because of their nutritional composition, accessibility, simple rearing techniques and quick growth rates, insects can offer a cheap and efficient opportunity to counter nutritional insecurity by providing emergency food and by improving livelihoods and the quality of traditional diets among vulnerable people. Besides serving as sources of food, insects provide humans with a variety of other valuable products. Honey and silk are the most commonly known insect products. Markets in Kinshasa boast an abundant year-round supply of caterpillars, and the average household in Kinshasa eats approximately 300 g of caterpillars per week. It has been estimated that 14 000 tons of caterpillars are consumed in the city annually. Consumption of the mopane caterpillar by far exceeds that of other caterpillars: 70 percent of Kinshasa’s 8 million inhabitants are estimated to eat the caterpillars, for both their nutritional value and their taste. Collecting, processing, trading and consuming the mopane caterpillar is an integral part of local cultures, but it is especially a livelihood strategy among marginalized people. The caterpillars are collected by hand – primarily by women and children – and then degutted, boiled in salted water and sun-dried. Dried mopane caterpillars will last for several months and can be a valuable source of nutrition in times of stress. Harvesting and trading the caterpillars also provides important income for many rural families; this is often the prime incentive for harvesting, and the income is comparable with and often higher than that generated by conventional agricultural. The income generated by the mopane caterpillar harvest provides many families with funds to purchase household items such as clothing, school materials and basic ute

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

In Congo, some of the poorest members of society, such as women and landless dwellers in urban and rural areas, can easily become involved in the gathering, cultivation, processing and sale of insects. These activities can directly improve their own diets and provide cash income through the selling of excess production as street foods. Insects can be directly and easily collected from nature or farmed with minimal technical or capital expenditure Obviously, gathering and farming insects can offer employment and cash income, either at the household level or in larger, industrial-scale operations. As already shown, in DRC, the demand for edible insects exists (more than 14 000 tons) and it is easy to bring insects to market, the process of insect gathering, rearing and processing into street foods or for sale as chicken and fish feed is easily within reach of small-scale enterprises. Insects as part of the mini livestock sector Insect cultivation can be carried out in urban, peri-urban and rural areas and is an efficient use of space. Although some attempts have been made to domesticate certain insects, most species in Congo can only be collected in the wild. Mini livestock enterprises are advantageous because they: • require minimal space; • do not compete directly with food for human consumption; • have a demand which outstrips their supply; • have high reproductive rates; • create cash inflow in a short period; • have high to very high financial returns in many cases; • are nutritional and a part of human nutrition; • convert feed to protein efficiently; • are relatively easy to manage; • are easily transportable; • are often easy to raise and do not require in-depth training.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

Consuming insects has several advantages: • They have high feed-conversion efficiency (an animal’s capacity to convert feed mass into increased body mass, represented as kg of feed per kg of weight gain). • They can be reared on organic side streams, reducing environmental contamination, while adding value to waste. • They emit relatively little ammonia. • They require significantly less water than cattle rearing. • They have few animal welfares issues, although the extent to which insects experience pain is largely unknown. • They pose a low risk of transmitting zoonotic infections. 1.1. Health: Beneficial roles of insects for most of the people in Congo. It has been over 20 years which the Democratic Republic of Congo has faced violence. Militias and war have become common. As the nation was invaded, natural resources were also controlled by outsiders. The State lost control over everything, and the development of the country came to a halt. This resulted in a depreciating economy. Another issue is the humanitarian crisis in the Congo. Citizens perish due to widespread disease, famine and violence daily. The animal based proteins and vitamins that the human body needs is out of price for the vast majority of people (most of them live with an average of 1 us per day for a single family of 5 persons.)Therefore, it’s imperative to find other sources of protein that could provide the Congolese population with the nutrients their bodies require. Insects are healthy, nutritious alternatives to mainstream staples such as chicken, pork, beef and even fish. Many insects are rich in protein and good fats and high in calcium, iron and zinc. Protein and other nutritional deficiencies are typically more widespread in disadvantaged segments of society and during times of social conflict and natural disaster. Because of their nutritional composition, accessibility, simple rearing techniques and quick growth rates, insects can offer a cheap and efficient opportunity to counter nutritional insecurity by providing emergency food and by improving livelihoods and the quality of traditional diets among vulnerable people. Besides serving as sources of food, insects provide humans with a variety of other valuable products. Honey and silk are the most commonly known insect products. Markets in Kinshasa boast an abundant year-round supply of caterpillars, and the average household in Kinshasa eats approximately 300 g of caterpillars per week. It has been estimated that 14 000 tons of caterpillars are consumed in the city annually. Consumption of the mopane caterpillar by far exceeds that of other caterpillars: 70 percent of Kinshasa’s 8 million inhabitants are estimated to eat the caterpillars, for both their nutritional value and their taste. Collecting, processing, trading and consuming the mopane caterpillar is an integral part of local cultures, but it is especially a livelihood strategy among marginalized people. The caterpillars are collected by hand – primarily by women and children – and then degutted, boiled in salted water and sun-dried. Dried mopane caterpillars will last for several months and can be a valuable source of nutrition in times of stress. Harvesting and trading the caterpillars also provides important income for many rural families; this is often the prime incentive for harvesting, and the income is comparable with and often higher than that generated by conventional agricultural. The income generated by the mopane caterpillar harvest provides many families with funds to purchase household items such as clothing, school materials and basic utensils The protein content of the mopane caterpillar is 48–61 percent and fat content is 16–20 percent, of which 40 percent is essential fatty acids. Mopane caterpillars are also a good source of calcium, zinc and iron 1.1.1. Nutritional composition The nutritional values of edible insects are highly variable, not least because of the wide variety of species. Even within the same group of edible insect species, values may differ depending on the metamorphic stage of the insect. A few scattered studies have analyzed the nutritional value of edible insects. Here is summarized what we know: - Amino acids: In some insect species, the amino acids are very well represented (caterpillars, palm weevil larvae and aquatic insects have amino acid scores for lysine higher than 100 mg amino acid per 100 g crude protein.) - Fat content which is the most energy-dense macronutrient in food. Edible insects are a considerable source of fat. Their oils are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids and frequently contain the essential linoleic and α-linolenic acids. The nutritional importance of these two essential fatty acids is well recognized, mainly for the healthy development of children and infants. - Micronutrients (including minerals and vitamins) that play an important role in the nutritional value of food. Micronutrient deficiencies, which are commonplace in many communities in Congo, can have major adverse health consequences, contributing to impairments in growth, immune function, mental and physical development and reproductive outcomes that cannot always be reversed by nutrition interventions. - Minerals: which play an important part in biological processes. Most edible insects boast equal or higher iron contents than beef. In the Congo, one in two pregnant women and about 40 percent of preschool children are believed to be anemic. Health consequences include poor pregnancy outcomes, impaired physical and cognitive development, increased risk of morbidity in children, and reduced work productivity in adults. Anemia is a preventable deficiency but contributes to 20 percent of all maternal deaths. Given the high iron content of several insect species, further evaluation of more edible insect species is warranted - Zinc deficiency is another core public health problem, especially for child and maternal health. Zinc deficiencies can lead to growth retardation, delayed sexual and bone maturation, skin lesions, diarrhea, alopecia, impaired appetite and increased susceptibility to infections mediated via defects in the immune system. In general, most insects are believed to be good sources of zinc. - Vitamins which is essential for stimulating metabolic processes and enhancing immune system functions are present in most edible insects. - Fibre content: the most common form of fibre in insects is chitin, an insoluble fibre derived from the exoskeleton. 1.2. Environmental: Benefits for the Congo vast ecological reserve Congo is also known for its vast ecological reserves. It has the Earth's second largest river by volume, draining an area of 3.7 million square kilometers (1.4 million square miles) known as the Congo Basin. Much of the basin is covered by rich tropical rainforests and swamps. Together these ecosystems make up the bulk of Central Africa's rainforest, which at 178 million hectares is the world's second largest rainforest. The Congo rainforest is known for its high levels of biodiversity, including more than 600 tree species and 10,000 animal species. Some of its most famous residents include forest elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, okapi, leopards, hippos, and lions. The Congo Basin, the river, the equatorial forest… so much world heritage that deserves to be protected and maintained. Many international non-governmental organizations are already very much involved in this aspect of things, but the contribution of the insect as a protective element of the environment has never been so highly valued. Insects deliver a host of ecological services fundamental to the survival of humankind. For instance, insects play an important role in plant reproduction. An estimated 100 000 pollinator species have been identified and almost all of these are insects. Over 90 percent of the 250 000 flowering plant species depend on pollinators. Domesticated bees alone pollinate an estimated 15 percent of these species. The importance of this ecological service for agriculture and nature more generally is undisputed. Insects play an equally vital role in waste biodegradation. Beetle larvae, flies, ants and termites clean up dead plant matter, breaking down organic matter until it is fit to be consumed by fungi and bacteria. In this way, the minerals and nutrients of dead organisms become readily available in the soil for uptake by plants. Animal carcasses, for example, are consumed by fly maggots and beetle larvae. Dung beetles – of which there are about 4 000 known species – also play a significant role in decomposing manure. They can colonize a dung heap within 24 hours, preventing flies from developing on them. If the dung remains on the soil surface, about 80 percent of the nitrogen is lost to the atmosphere; the presence of dung beetles, however, means carbon and minerals are recycled back to the soil, where they further decompose as humus for plants Insects promoted as food emit considerably fewer greenhouse gases than most livestock. Insect rearing is not necessarily a land-based activity and does not require land clearing to expand production. The ammonia emissions associated with insect rearing are also far lower than those linked to conventional livestock, such as pigs. Because they are cold-blooded, insects are very efficient at converting feed into protein (according to studies crickets, for example, need 12 times less feed than cattle, four times less feed than sheep, and half as much feed as pigs and broiler chickens to produce the same amount of protein.)

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Absolutely. Thanks for the interest

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