A fly factory that transforms blood, guts, manure and discarded food into animal feed has walked away with a $100,000 UN-backed innovation prize.
The Stellenbosch, South Africa-based initiative uses the prolific egg layers to recycle industry's cast-offs into reusable protein by mimicking nature and harnessing the winged insects, usually regarded as pests.
"We've created the first industrial farming operation for flies," said Jason Drew of AgriProtein Technologies which devised the concept.
The flies, which are fed human grade food, lay eggs which are collected and added to the waste where they hatch into larvae.
The larvae munch through the waste and are then harvested, dried and ground up into the consistency of cornflakes and sent to a feed manufacturer.
"Our factory looks like a very big cage full of flies," Drew told AFP after the award was presented Tuesday.
The flies are trained to lay eggs in one place by creating their ideal conditions.
"We take their eggs out, we put the eggs onto that waste and at the end of 72 hours, one kilo of eggs turns into about 380 kilos of larvae," said Drew.