Zim Maggot Producers Wins the 2021 Food Solutions Challenge
Net Impact is excited to announce that Zim Maggot Producers from Great Zimbabwe University in Masvingo has won the 2021 Food Solutions Challenge. In partnership with Bayer, World Business Council for Development, and Coca-Cola, the Challenge, now in its fifth year, invites participants from around the globe to reimagine unsustainable systems and create innovative solutions to the critical issues in food and agriculture that we face as a global population.
This year’s participating teams were asked to focus on how we can strengthen smallholder farming resilience. In June, five semi-finalists teams were selected to participate in an eight-week accelerator run by Eidos Global’s Social Innovation Warehouse, where they gained the connections, mentorship, and tools needed to successfully develop their solution into a scalable enterprise. The challenge culminated in a pitch event where the teams were able to share their solutions with a panel of expert judges and compete for $5,000 to fund further development of their idea.
The Zim Maggot Producers team, led by Moja Shephered, Josphat Nyika, Rudo Chikwanha, and Chivuzhe Modern, were selected as the winners for their creative and innovative approach to lowering the cost of food production and increasing food availability by making stock feeds cheaper for smallholder farmers. As part of their solution, the Zim Maggot Producers team pitched a “trash for cash” model, where rotting and decaying produce is collected and used to feed black soldier fly larva. In this new approach, the larva, which can be used as a protein, is then harvested and used as stock feed for poultry and pigs. The result is a more sustainable, economically-accessible way to empower smallholder farmers, enable self-sufficiency, and increase food production.
Following their win, we had the chance to talk with the team about their winning idea:
Congratulations on winning the 2021 Food Solutions Challenge. Tell us about how it feels to have won the competition?
Our team is more than excited! We nearly failed to proceed with the competition due to the ill health of one of our team members, and later on, we faced network challenges at our farm. We thought the best we could do was complete the challenge, without any hope of winning. We do not have enough words to express our excitement; we feel honored and humbly receive the honor and recognition.
How do you hope your winning idea will create impact?
The idea of turning trash into cash using the black soldier fly larva will positively impact the lives of small scale farmers through the provision of alternative cheap and organic stock feed. This innovation addresses a number of SDG goals. We intend to reach out to 10,000 small scale poultry farmers by the end of December 2021, as we are going to use the prize money to scale up our operations and increase our capacity.
What is next for you and your team?
Having won this challenge, we are now improving our production capacity and efficiency. Being accepted to participate in the Food Solutions Challenge also made some organizations and individuals more confident in us and our idea and increased their interest in partnering with us. Therefore, we are going to continue building strong networks with organizations until we have realized food security for our rural populations.
To learn more about the Food Solutions Challenge and how you can participate, click here.