NovFeed: an Aqua-Feed Revolution In Tanzania 

The East African country of Tanzania is known for its lush landscape, wild seacoast, and plentiful rivers. The waterways of Tanzania are a bountiful source of fish, which serves the dual purpose of both feeding the population and providing work for thousands of fishermen. Yet fishing is an industry plagued with financial difficulties and logistical barriers. For small-scale fish farmers in Tanzania, rising feed and related costs are often too high to be absorbed into already thin profit margins. In small-scale aquaculture operations, feed can account for 70% or more of total production costs. When faced with an increase in feed costs, many poor farmers may have no other choice than to stop feeding their fish – meaning they’ll soon be out of work, too. 

NovFeed is revolutionizing the aqua-feed industry in order to help small-scale fish farmers in developing countries around the world. They transform organic waste into protein-rich feed ingredients via the emerging industrial biotech field of fermentation. Based in Dar es Salaam (though they plan to expand across the African continent), NovFeed has access to an incredible amount of waste: the city generates over 9,000 tons daily, of which around 70% is organic. Dar es Salaam’s daily waste generation is projected to grow to nearly 15,000 tons by 2030. Employing local women ​​​​and girls, NovFeed collects fruit and vegetable waste, and then applies a consortium of microbes that break down organic waste and reassemble it into low-cost, nutrient-rich protein ingredients for aqua-feed.  

photo by NovFeed

NovFeed states that their feed is “nutritionally comparable to traditional fishmeal but can be scaled quickly, efficiently, and without the need for wild-caught fish, other marine ingredients, and farmed soy, to completely replace traditional sources.” Their technology takes organic waste, a powerful greenhouse gas emitter, and inserts the associated carbon into the food chain again using bacteria as a cell bio-factory, driving a circular economy, and reducing pressure on finite natural resources. Importantly, fish feed for farmed fish often relies on wild-caught fish or farmed soy, which has lasting negative effects on ecosystems and our environment. NovFeed claims that with their product, “there is no longer a need to catch fish from the marine environment as nutrition for farmed fish. According to our research, the use of Single Cell Protein (SCP) in fish feed improved fish growth rates by up to 35% and reduced the overall cost of feed by up to 30%.” A 30% reduction in feed price is a huge win for low-income fish farmers where every cent can make a difference.  

photo by NovFeed

Besides helping fish farmers, NovFeed believes their novel approach to fish feed could significantly help feed the local population. Currently, per capita consumption of fish is only 8kg per annum in Tanzania, significantly below the global average of 20kg. NovFeed believes this disparity highlights the transformative impact their initiative can have in these communities “not only by increasing their access to a vital source of protein but also by improving their overall nutrition and well-being.”  

Learn more about NovFeed.


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