The company is part of a new industry called nutrient recycling, which uses organic waste to create protein. It began out of a need to find sustainable alternatives to fishmeal, which has become almost half of the fish removed from the sea, according to David Drew, one of the company's founders. Research and development on Magmeal with the University of Stellenbosch Animal Nutritional Department started over three years ago.
The challenge now is that AgriProtein Technologies can't make Magmeal in the volumes that are needed to meet the industry needs, according to the company. The potential big users would need vast quantities of the product — an estimated 1,000 tons per month. "We can make 100 kilos here and there but to be a serious business, we need to be making much more per day," said Drew. "This is what we are busy finalizing — a production process that will allow us to make about 100 tons of larvae per day. This is scheduled to start at the end of 2012. We are currently raising money for our first big factory; a $10-million asking. This is a real step up in terms of financing for us, and we have very interested partners."