Bandile Dlabantu. Picture: TYI
Bandile Dlabantu. Picture: TYI

An Eastern Cape-born businessman will be representing SA at the Cleantech Open Global Forum competition next February in America’s Silicon Valley for his innovative use of dehydrated worms to make animal feed.

Bandile Dlabantu‚ who got R120‚000 when he won first place in the local competition‚ says his dream is 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 SA and East African countries,” he says. “The project started three years ago and a lot of sacrifice went into it. At times we had to go without salaries. Things were not always great‚ things take time.”

Given his entomology background‚ experimenting with worms is a natural progression for Dlabantu.

His 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 [those with one stomach], such as chickens‚ pigs and fish.

The feed Dlabantu’s company makes‚ Khepri Meal‚ is said to be cheaper than conventional feed‚ reducing the cost of animal farming. The company grows and harvests the worms itself.

On November 3, Science and Technology Minister 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, who created Gracious Nubian washable and re-usable sanitary pads. They received R60‚000 each and will both be joining Dlabantu at the Cleantech Open Global Forum next year.

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