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Insect products as feed in Kenya (ILIPA)

GCP2 increase livestock production in Africa
Image: via Flickr (by: Cecilia Schubert)

Duration: January 1, 2016 – October 14, 2019

Project information

Aim: Poultry, pig and fish farming are the fastest growing agribusiness activities in East Africa. However, the high cost of feeds greatly hampers profitable gains for small and medium-holder farmers in these sectors. There is a research need for alternative sources of low-cost feed supplements. The proposed project “Improving livelihood by increasing livestock production in Africa: An agribusiness model to commercially produce high quality insect-based protein ingredients for chicken, fish and pig industries (ILIPA)” exploits the potential of insects, mainly the black soldier fly (BSF), Hermetia illucens in commercial production of a low-cost, high-quality protein source to supplement feeds for poultry, pig and fish farmers.

Objective: The main objective of the project is to establish profitable community-led agro-enterprises for commercial production of safe and high quality insect-based feeds for the poultry, pig and fish industries to improve livelihood and promote youths and women employment through capacity building on the use of insects as a source of feed for livestock production.


  • Year 1- Situation analysis, farmer mobilization, awareness creation and market exploration.
  • Year 2- Basic research, Optimization and technology up-scaling phase.
  • Year 3 – Enhance farmer groups’ contribution to the feed entrepreneurship and market chain development in Kenya.
  • Year 4 – Insect-based microenterprise.

Through its consortium partners, the project creates awareness and market opportunities in production of insect-based protein for the livestock industry. The project works with youth and women farmer groups to build their capacity to rear BSF and market thereby ensuring farmer participation in establishment of intensive insect-based agribusiness enterprises. The consortium will also engage in research to assure high nutrition and microbial safety of the insect-based protein products.

Country: Kenya.

Dutch policy goals: Inclusive business models for food security; and Regional trade for food security.

Progress reports

Year 1: Two students (1 MSc and 1 PhD) have been recruited. ILIPA jointly organized an International Conference on Legislation and Policy on the Use of Insects as Food and Feed in East Africa, with 105 participants from 13 countries. Convened an ILIPA inception and stakeholder’s workshop, attended by 12 participants. Four awareness campaign workshops and 24 farmer group visits on insect-based technology organized with 95 County policy-makers and 214 young entrepreneurs trained. Out of 668 farmers interviewed, >90% were willing to consume poultry products when reared on insect-based feeds. We identified and recruited 277 farmer groups willing to engage in insect-based enterprise.

Summary mid-term review: Insects have the potential to serve as a sustainable source of high-quality protein and a low-cost supplement to feeds for poultry, pig and fish farmers. Larvae of the black soldier fly (BSF) are an important candidate. The ILIPA project together with other projects jointly organized an International Conference on Legislation and Policy on the Use of Insects as Food and Feed in East Africa, with 105 participants from 13 countries. Recommendations were made for academia, governments and donors. Furthermore, eight awareness campaigns have been conducted in all project benchmark sites with 63 extension staff, 8 feed manufacturers and model farmers from 24 farmer groups (poultry, pig and fish) trained on insect production. A mass production facility of BSF has been established at ICIPE. Farmer exchange visits to icipe with 24 farmer group leaders were conducted. In addition, 325 young entrepreneurs have been trained. A socio-economic baseline survey has been completed with 1625 farmers showing that (a) > 70% are willing to rear insects for sale to commercial feed manufacturers / processors of feed, while > 80% are willing to buy insect-based formulated feeds. Also, >90% are willing to consume poultry products reared on insect-based feeds. A total of 277 farmer groups (~ 4900 farmers) were identified and recruited. Twenty-four farmer groups trained and provided starter kits for BSF mass production. The Kenyan Bureau of Standards has accepted a standard for BSF as animal feed, and thus legal approval has been obtained. Finally the performance of BSF reared on different sidestreams was assessed.


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Please download the factsheet with midterm findings of this GCP-2 Integrated Project. »