A $7m high tech agriculture project that produces human food and animal feed has kicked off in Entebbe in Uganda. The project run by US-based firm Parabel involves unique technology designed to enable the growth, harvesting and processing of locally available aquatic plants (or “micro-crops”) to create feed and food products.
“In Uganda, the micro-crops will grow very quickly. We shall start with two tonnes and in seven days it will be 10 tonnes, each day we shall harvest one tonne,” said Anthony Tiarks, Parabel’s chief executive
The company’s solution enables year-round growth, harvest and production, providing a new, local large-scale source of protein for animal feed and human food with a high degree of consistency and
The first phase of Parabel’s project in Uganda will involve growing the micro-crop in a demonstration facility outside Entebbe International Airport on government-owned land parallel to the Entebbe runway, which is almost the size of a football pitch.
“This demonstration facility will represent what we shall do on a commercial scale,” said Tiarks. After the successful completion of the demonstration project, Parabel will move to a 50-hectare space to grow
the crop and produce end products on a commercial basis, which will make Uganda the green protein food and animal feed base for Africa. The technology is part of the solution to food security with global
estimates showing that food demand will outstrip current supply with 30% more food needed in the next 40 years.
Parabel’s technology uses indigenous, non-genetically modified plants from the lemnaceae family, which are widely available in Uganda, growing in the wild around water streams. The plant has been used in
human and animal food for centuries, but has never been fully developed on a commercial basis with the efficiency and productivity associated with Parabel’s system.
Launching the demonstration project last week, state minister for investments, Gabriel Ajedra, pledged government support to the venture. Tom Buringuriza, Parabel’s vice president for Africa, said Uganda
will be the only African country with a demonstration site. Commercial units will be replicated in other African states.
Source: New Vision