09 November 2017 – 12:15 by Kgaugelo Masweneng
An Eastern Cape-born businessman will be representing South Africa at the Cleantech Open Global Forum competition next February in Silicon Valley in America for his innovative use of dehydrated worms to make animal feed.
Bandile Dlabantu‚ who won R120‚000 after winning first place in the local competition‚ said his dream was to expand his brand to other African countries.
“I’m excited. This has opened a lot of opportunities. There is traction on partnership and investments too. I would like to see the product expanding throughout South Africa and East African countries. The project started three years ago and a lot of sacrifices went into it. At times we had to go without salaries. Things were not always great‚ things take time‚” Dlabantu said.
Given his entomology background‚ being inventive with worms has become an almost natural progression for Dlabantu.
The product can be fed to a number of insect-eating reptiles and birds‚ and can also be used as a protein and energy source in formulated diets for mono-gastric animals like chickens‚ pigs and fish.
The feed by Dlabantu’s company‚ Khepri Meal™‚ is said to be cheaper than conventional feed‚ reducing the cost of animal farming.
Dlabantu said his company grows and harvests the worms.
On November 3 Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor presented the grand prize to Dlabantu at a gala event in Pretoria.
The runners-up were Sara Andreotti‚ whose Sharksafe Barrier is an eco-friendly alternative to the shark nets and baited drumlines that prove lethal to a wide array of marine life‚ and Euodia Naanyane-Bouwer’s Gracious Nubian washable and reusable sanitary pads.
They received R60‚000 each and will both be joining Dlabantu at the Cleantech Open Global Forum next year.