Combatting East Africa’s fish supply-demand imbalances

Diana Orembe, co-founder and CEO of pioneering blue biotech company, NovFeed in November 2023, was selected as part of the ‘UNICEF Innovation30: Young Innovators Shaping the Future,’ for developing the unique NovFeed technology to transform the aquaculture landscape in Tanzania’s largest city, Dar es Salaam

Throughout the world, particularly in East Africa, the aquaculture sector has been facing significant challenges in regard to fish supply and demand. For instance, Tanzania is currently experiencing an annual fish deficit of more than 480,000 metric tonnes, according to a report by United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). Moreover, the current feed which comprises mainly of small fish like sardines is found to be neither environmentally nor economically feasible.

NovFeed’s innovative solution was awarded the US$1mn Grand Prize for winning the Milken-Motsepe Prize in AgriTech. The company  uses advanced bacterial techniques to transform discarded fruits and vegetables collected primarily from schools, universities, and markets into a valuable protein source for fish feed. The use of this alternate protein source helps reduce the overall greenhouse gas emissions by 80%. Moreover, unlike traditional feeds, NovFeed’s innovative protein floats, thus bringing down feed loss to a complete stop. It also accelerates fish maturity, allowing them to be sold 40% earlier compared to traditional feed methods. This in turn significantly increases farmers’ profits.

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