Empowering Women and Youth in Uganda’s Kalangala Islands Through Black Soldier Fly Farming

Empowering Women and Youth in Uganda’s Kalangala Islands Through Black Soldier Fly Farming

<div>Empowering Women and Youth in Uganda's Kalangala Islands Through Black Soldier Fly Farming</div>

<div>Empowering Women and Youth in Uganda's Kalangala Islands Through Black Soldier Fly Farming</div>

The Kalangala Islands in Lake Victoria depend heavily on fishing for livelihoods. Unsustainable fishing practices have strained the lake’s fish stocks, impacting the islands’ economy.

To provide an alternative income source, the Kalangala District Local Government initiated a black soldier fly (BSF) farming project targeting women and youth, with support from organizations like the International Centre for Local Democracy (ICLD) and United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF).

The project focused on women and youth as the key target groups. For women, community mobilization and sensitization of local leaders helped encourage BSF farming. For youth, the project established demonstration sites and training on innovative BSF rearing techniques.

The project had three key objectives:

  1. To improve the livelihoods of youth and women outside of capture fisheries
  2. To increase production in local piggeries, poultry farms and aquaculture
  3. To increase district revenue through taxes and levies

BSF larvae are a highly nutritious, protein-rich food source. When dried, they can be ground into a fishmeal substitute for animal feed. The project helped women and youth set up small-scale BSF rearing units. By 2023, around 60 women and 6 youth across the islands’ Bujumba and Mugoye sub-counties had begun cultivating the larvae.

The participants produce approximately 50kg of live BSF larvae weekly, sold at $1 per kg. The larvae are also processed into fish pellets, generating 30kg per week priced at $2 per kg. This provides regular supplementary income for the small-scale farmers. The project has been a boom for youth employment, with youth managing the larvae processing units.

The proliferation of affordable BSF-based fishmeal has benefited local piggeries, poultry farms and fish hatcheries. By reducing expenditure on commercial fishmeal, BSF allows farmers to increase their livestock and fish stocks. BSF rearing requires minimal infrastructure, making it an accessible livelihood. The larvae breeding process also creates nutrient-rich waste, which farmers use as organic fertilizer to boost crop yields.

For communities long dependent on lake fishing, BSF farming has opened new avenues for income diversity. The number of women engaged in small-scale fishing has declined significantly as more transition to insect rearing. This reduces unsustainable pressures on wild fish populations. The workers have gained membership in local Parish Development Committees, amplifying their voices in local policy.

By 2023:

  • 42 women and 4 youths in Bujumba sub county had started BSF rearing
  • 18 women and 2 youths in Mugoye sub county had started BSF rearing
  • About 50kg of BSF larvae were being produced per week, each costing ~$1 and providing income for the women
  • About 30kg of fish pellets were being produced per week, each costing ~$2

The project highlights BSF farming as a sustainable solution to enhance food security, nutrition and livelihoods. The Kalangala District Local Government plans to continue promoting the initiative by attracting youth, women and entrepreneurs to BSF rearing, and establishing infrastructure to support scaling up operations. With its manifold benefits, BSF could catalyze broad-based social and economic empowerment across Kalangala Islands.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF).