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Start-up wins government subsidy -- thanks to maggots

Start-up wins government subsidy -- thanks to maggots

Taipei, March 24 (CNA) A Kaohsiung-based company that raises maggots as a source of animal protein was selected by the Ministry of Education (MOE) Tuesday as a distinguished start-up by university graduates and awarded a government subsidy. Green Ark Biotech Co. (??????????), established by National Kaohsiung University of Applied Sciences graduates Huang Yen-ping (???) and Yang Yung-hsin (???) in late 2014, found its business path from fly larvae, or maggots. Pending increasing hikes in prices of fish meal -- a main ingredient of livestock and fish feed -- due to the gradual decline of marine resources, Huang said that from overseas experience, he discovered insects provide high-value nutrition. Using the larvae of flies, which he described as having a high reproductive capacity and a short growth cycle, to replace fish meal as a source of animal protein for animal feed can cost about 50 percent less compared with the cost of producing fish meal, he said. The company raises maggots and uses them as a raw material to produce chicken feed. Moreover, protein and amino acid-enriched maggots have also been found to improve the immunity of livestock and domestically cultivated fish, Huang said, citing evidence showing improved vitality of chickens fed with the innovative feed formula. After a series of experiments, Green Ark has eventually developed a successful operating model, under which the company established cooperative links with chicken farms to acquire chicken droppings, according to Huang. The company uses the droppings to cultivate the maggots, produces chicken feed with the maggots, and then sells the feed back to the chicken farms, the young entrepreneur said, touting the business cycle as "a mutually beneficial form of symbiosis." "Everything has its value, as long as it is in the right spot at the right time," Huang said at the U-start award presentation ceremony held by the MOE. Green Ark was one of 12 teams selected as distinguished start-ups in the MOE's U-start program for successful start-ups by university graduates. The winners won a combined government subsidy of NT$5.2 million (US$167,000) to help them grow their businesses. (By Chen Chih-chung and Elizabeth Hsu)


Updated : 2021-09-29 01:21 GMT+08:00