ICIPE Scientist (Edible Insect Farming for Livestock Feed Production and Use) Jobs in Kenya

ICIPE Scientist (Edible Insect Farming for Livestock Feed Production and Use) Jobs in Kenya

Overall Purpose of the Job

Livestock and fish production is one of the fastest growing agricultural sectors globally, with most of the growth occurring in the developing countries. Livestock and fish are of socio-economic value to smallholder farmers and provide a safety net in times of financial crisis.

However, expansion and profitability of livestock and fish sector in Africa are constrained by increasing feed costs, especially the protein ingredients, which account for 60%–70% of total costs of feeds. In Africa, major protein
ingredients such as fishmeal and soybean meal are increasingly unavailable, often imported, and
expensive increasing feed costs for smallholder farmers.

This significantly impacts on the productivity and profitability of smallholder livestock and fish production systems in Africa. Hence current sources of proteins in the feed sector, namely fishmeal and soybean meal are not sustainable.
Insects such as black soldier fly (BSF) are an emerging alternative to conventional protein additives in feeds.

These insects also contribute to bioconversion of organic substrates and contribute to a circular food system by producing sustainable protein ingredients for aquaculture, livestock, and pet nutrition.

Insects have high protein and fat content and have been considered promising high-quality feed. The
insect protein meal could replace 25% to 100% of fishmeal or soybean meal in feeds for livestock and aquaculture. On a dry matter basis, BSF larvae are rich in crude protein, fat, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and magnesium.

Therefore, BSF larvae meal has been widely used as ingredient in feed for fish, poultry, and pigs, with promising results. This innovative technology offers a promising source of livelihood through insect farming, marketing, and application of derived products for animal production while safeguarding the natural environment.

However, there is need to undertake large scale studies on the influence of BSF larvae meal on the
performance and health response of livestock and fish. Previous studies on the inclusion of full-fatted BSF larvae meal in animal feeds have been restricted to few countries, which do not reflect the true impact of the technologies in transformation of lives and livelihood of youth and women in Africa.

In addition, there limited knowledge on the inclusion levels of defatted BSF larvae meal in livestock and fish production. There is also the need to diversify feed recipes for livestock and fish categories, which is critical for production and maintenance of human health and ecosystems in Africa.

Black soldier fly farming for alternative protein is a relatively new product developed and tested through collaborative research projects at icipe. Further understanding of the impact of defatted BSF larvae meal on animal health, carcass quality in relation to the insect protein inclusion levels in diverse farming systems in various agroecological zones is critical.

This can create more evidence-based data for refining the technology and creating awareness among diverse stakeholders from policymakers to
end-user farmers to support scaling and adoption. There is a need to further diversity insect options for the feed sector such as the African fruit beetles, indigenous mealworms, crickets, locust among others.

Also optimization of the production of these insects and black soldier flies on diverse organic waste in various countries that are critical for nutrient recycling into value-added products is warranted. Such efforts have the potential to strengthen the development of circular economy and sustainable production of meat and eggs in Africa, which underpinning food security and ecosystem functioning.

This position will deliver innovative research that addresses a wide range of unique and critical issues associated with insect welfare, diversification of insect choices, safe processing into suitable ingredients for animal feed, and environmental health in the context of ONE HEALTH.

Within the scope of the above and overall objectives of the INSEFF program, icipe is seeking applications from highly motivated candidates for the position of Scientist – Edible Insect farming for livestock feed production and use. The ideal candidate will support research activities in the Insects for Food, Feed and Other Uses programme within the icipe’s Environmental Health Theme.

The overall purpose of
the job is to:

• Spearhead the research on organic waste mapping and nutrient characterization, and their use
to suit the current production requirements under smallholder farming and commercial production.

• Manage on-farm and on-station experiments that compare the performance of different insect meal inclusion levels of full-fatted and defatted black soldier fly larvae meal in livestock and fish production in different countries.

• Manage farmer-participatory insect-based feeding trials that aim to tackle bottlenecks facing
smallholder farmers through participatory technology development and transfer.

• Establish the ecological significance of black soldier fly and other saprophytic insects and
assess their potential as high value products to contribute significantly to organic recycling and
feed insecurity.

• Establish a cross-thematic research programme on effective harnessing of insect-based feed technological services for improved livestock and fish farming, with focus on a broad range of
insect-based feed recipe formulations and their applications.

Specific Duties

The successful candidate is expected to:

• Coordinate activities related to production and utilisation of black soldier fly larvae in animal
feed formulation.

• Conduct in-depth research on the impact of defatted black soldier fly larvae meal on livestock and fish production under different farming systems in target countries.

• Conduct novel research on the development of new products (oils from black soldier fly larvae
and other insects and chitosan from pupal exuviae) when raised on diverse waste streams, enhance animal immunity using feed fortification technologies and explore the possibility of
using antimicrobial peptides for disease control.

• Expand the knowledge on other soldier fly species co-existing with H. illucens, with focus on improving their production technologies in East Africa.

• Provide cutting-edge scientific research to develop, adapt, and optimise strategies to harness
the nutritional profiling and bioactive properties in livestock and fish production.

• Contribute to various INSEFF project management, linkage with partners (universities and national research organisations), and preparation of semi-annual and annual technical reports.

• Be responsible for data collection, management and analysis related to insect-based feed
production and usage as well as support other research activities related to insect frass

• Undertake supervision of research assistants, technicians, field assistants, interns, MSc and
PhD students.

• Publish research outputs in high-impact peer-reviewed journals in areas related to INSEFF

• Raise funds through research grant writing for continuation of INSEFF or implementation of similar projects.


• PhD in Entomology with at least 3 years’ postgraduate experience in organic waste bioconversion using insect into nutrient-rich biomass for feed formulation and production.

• Good number of publications on rearing, processing, and preparation of insect-based diets for feeding regimes on livestock production in peer-reviewed journals.

• Should be at most 38 years at the time of application for this position

• Skills in biostatistics, especially for robust analyses on experimental feeding regimes set up
and database development, are essential.

• Additional skills in bioecological landscape assessments of BSF production and Geographic
Information Systems (GIS) would be an advantage.

• Must have an excellent publication track record.

• Additional knowledge on soil and gut microbiome would be an advantage

Core Competencies

• Demonstrated ability to mobilise resources for effective research.

• Ability to create and foster an innovative work environment, including team building to deliver
on agreed goals.

• High degree of organisation, adaptability, and prioritisation.

• Experience in capacity building through supervision and mentorship of MSc and undergraduate students.

• Excellent communication skills and collaborative network of partners at national and international levels

How to Apply

For more information and job application details, see; ICIPE Scientist (Edible Insect Farming for Livestock Feed Production and Use) Jobs in Kenya

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