On a sunny and windy morning, Brighton Zambezi scooped up a kilogram of black soldier fly larvae into a box. In a few days, he would dispatch them to a farmer in Botswana. The agricultural entrepreneur breeds the insect larvae, wormlike creatures that eventually become adult insects, at the back of his mother’s house in Harare’s Sunningdale high-density suburb.
“I expect to send the larvae across the border anytime this week to a farmer who wants to start black soldier fly farming,” says Zambezi.
Black soldier flies are harmless insects that are attracted to decomposing waste. They are found in dumping grounds and urban landfills, but they can also be found at illegal dumpsites in residential areas with uncollected garbage, such as Sunningdale, where Zambezi collected the larvae he put in a small cage when he kick-started this maggot project back in 2019.
Zambezi feeds these insects, housed in different trays and recycled containers under a black net, with vegetable and fruit waste he collects from dumpsites in his neighborhood. Under this net, there are shrubs and weeds where black soldier flies lay eggs after mating. After five days, the eggs hatch into maggots — the wormlike, juvenile form of the fly — which are then harvested and sold as cheap and protein-rich feed for farm animals.
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