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    HomeEcosystem NewsEASTERN AFRICACatalyst Fund’s Investment Series: Tanzania’s Waste-to-Protein Startup BioBuu Joins the List

    Catalyst Fund’s Investment Series: Tanzania’s Waste-to-Protein Startup BioBuu Joins the List

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    Catalyst Fund, a leading impact investor in Africa, has announced an investment in BioBuu, a Tanzanian startup tackling food waste, climate change, and food security challenges through an innovative black soldier fly larvae technology. The investment amount was not disclosed.

    Founded in 2016 by Kigen Compton and Matthew Haden, BioBuu tackles a significant global issue: food waste. A staggering 38% of all energy used in the food system is wasted globally, with most of it rotting in landfills in Africa, releasing harmful methane gas. Additionally, the growing demand for animal protein is driving unsustainable practices like soy production for animal feed, leading to deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions.

    A Circular Solution for Food, Waste, and Climate Change

    BioBuu’s approach offers a circular solution that addresses these interconnected issues. They collect organic waste from municipalities and factories, diverting it from landfills. This waste is then fed to black soldier fly larvae, which are later processed using windrow composting. The larvae efficiently consume the waste, turning it into protein-rich feed for poultry, fish, and pets at competitive prices. Meanwhile, the remaining waste becomes organic fertilizer, improving soil health for farmers.

    This closed-loop system delivers significant environmental and economic benefits. In 2023 alone, BioBuu processed over 6,500 tons of organic waste into 250 tons of affordable animal feed and fertilizer, boosting agricultural productivity for local farmers. Their new facility has the capacity to upcycle 50 tons of waste daily, with the potential to save 9,000 million tons of CO2 emissions annually and create hundreds of green jobs.

    Innovation in Waste-to-Protein Technology

    BioBuu’s innovation lies in its black soldier fly breeding and bioconversion process. The company optimizes this process to extract maximum value from organic waste. The larvae’s digestive system breaks down complex materials quickly, and upon maturity, they are harvested and converted into customized feed for different animals. BioBuu stands out as the only black soldier fly larvae company in the region with vertically integrated operations, managing the entire process from insect farming to finished pellets with tailored nutritional recipes. They are also the only such facility with registered carbon offset sites, allowing them to earn carbon credits.

    Decentralized Production for Wider Impact

    BioBuu is moving beyond centralized production facilities. They are setting up a network of modular factories closer to waste sources, reducing transportation emissions and creating local jobs. Additionally, their corporate social responsibility program empowers community members to become micro-entrepreneurs, processing smaller amounts of waste near their homes and businesses.

    With a proven model and profitability achieved in 2023, BioBuu is poised for significant growth in Africa’s $1.4 billion insect feed market, which is projected to expand at 5.7% annually. The startup already operates in Tanzania and Kenya, with a combined daily waste upcycling capacity of 50 tons. They have also secured a coveted EU export license, opening doors to higher-margin international markets.

    BioBuu plans to invest in additional production facilities, strengthen its decentralized sourcing and distribution network, and diversify its product lines. With a strong team, robust unit economics, and proven technology, they aim to scale their operations across Africa, addressing the continent’s 200 million-ton organic waste challenge.

    Catalyst Fund’s Role in BioBuu’s Expansion

    Catalyst Fund’s investment will support BioBuu’s operational excellence, connect them with regional partners, and strengthen their impact reporting. This collaboration aims to accelerate BioBuu’s vision of transforming waste streams into sustainable nutrition, improved soil health, and healthier communities across Africa.

    “We are thrilled to partner with BioBuu as they revolutionize food systems in Africa,” said a spokesperson from Catalyst Fund. “Their circular solution has the potential to create economic opportunities, environmental resilience, and healthier communities for years to come.”

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