Ashesi University: Students Build Insect Farming Incubator To Support Small-Scale Farmers

Ashesi University: Students Build Insect Farming Incubator To Support Small-Scale Farmers

  • Daniel Amoshie is an Electrical Engineering student, and Munashe Nyazenga, a Computer Engineering student at Ashesi University
  • The two final-year students started crop and animal farming during the COVID-19 lockdown and faced similar challenges
  • Their challenge in getting fertiliser and animal feed led them to make an insect farming incubator for their final-year project

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Two final-year students of Ashesi University have built an insect incubator to assist small-scale farmers.

The two are Daniel Amoshie, an Electrical Engineering student, and Munashe Nyazenga, a Computer Engineering student.

The two students have long had an interest in farming. At the height of COVID-19, they put their passion into work. Munashe started a sugar bean farm in Zimbabwe, while Daniel owned a small catfish farm in Ghana.

Two students from Ashesi who have built an insect farming incubator
Daniel Amoshie and Munashe Nyazenga built an insect farming machine for their final year project at Ashesi University Photo credit: Ashesi University
Source: Youtube

But the two were faced with two major challenges in their quest: Munashe needed affordable fertiliser to boost soil fertility, and Daniel faced the high cost of traditional protein feed for his fish.

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The two Ashesi students come up with a solution

The two engineering students searched for a solution and stumbled on black soldier flies. The insects comprise up to 60% protein, offering a cheaper solution because their nutrient-rich larvae easily break food waste into compost or directly processed it for animal feed. But the lifecycle of the insects posed a challenge to the students since they were very sensitive to environmental conditions.

To solve the challenge, the two, for their final year project, decided to focus on building an automated breeding machine for black soldier flies.

“About one-third of food produced globally goes into waste. Unfortunately, this food waste ends up in landfills, which produce greenhouse gases that contribute to 10% of global warming. We discovered that there was a way to convert this waste that goes into landfills into valuable products such as animal feed while at the same time getting fras fertilizer from it,” Daniel said.

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"We built our device to simplify the management and control of the rearing process, allowing for the consistent production of high-quality protein feed and fertiliser for small to medium-scale farmers," he added.

The Ashesi students produced "Flysol," an incubator that uses computer vision, temperature control, and feeding systems to monitor and regulate conditions for the larvae to flourish.

This will help solve small-scale farmers' challenges regarding affordable fertiliser and animal feed.

"The escalating costs of feed and fertiliser make it increasingly challenging for farmers to sustainably produce enough food to meet the demands of the world's growing population. Also, a significant portion of food waste isn't being put to good use. Flysol addresses both these issues," Munashe said.

The two were grateful to their supervisor, Dr Elena Rosca, who supported and guided them through their challenges to make the project possible.

Watch the video below:

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Ashesi and KNUST students build biosensor capable of detecting gold in the soil

In an earlier story, reported that a group of students from the Ashesi University and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) had invented a biosensor that could detect gold in mining areas.

The biosensor is expected to revolutionise small-scale mining in the country since it would reduce or prevent the use of other toxic prospecting processes like land degradation.

The students from Ashesi University are Michael Boateng, Trish Maduche, Rosemond Tawiah, Edith Boakye, Vera Bordah, Gideon Bonsu, Elijah Boateng, and Leeroy Magora. The two KNUST students who joined to make the new invention successful include Sandra Acquah and Betty Essien.

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