Maggots were food for thought at an international food conference hosted last month in the Netherlands. Soon they may be actual food, not for you or me directly, but for the house pets we love and the domesticated animals we eat. Indeed meat production faces a crisis: it requires evermore land for cultivation at a time when our natural resources are feeling more strain than ever before. “The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that population growth and increased demand for meat and fish will require 70% more feed for cattle by 2050. This will put extra strain on arable land, and further pressure on fish stocks…”
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What’s the Big Idea?
Industrial-scale maggot production has just begun but is already showing sings of promise. The agriculture company AgriProtein announced earlier this month that “it had raised $11m to build its first two commercial-scale farms. The first, in Cape Town, will create 20 tonnes of larvae and 20 tonnes of fertiliser per day.” The company’s formula is already approved as feed for chickens and fish in South Africa, but faces regulatory hurdles in Europe, where maggots fall into the same category as traditional livestock (acceptable for feeding pets, but not humans). But will consumers accept maggot-fed meat on their plate?