Stakeholders’ perspectives on the use of black soldier fly larvae as an alternative sustainable feed ingredient in aquaculture, Kenya

The use of novel feed ingredients from aquaculture is growing globally. However, their contributions to scalable and sustainable aquafeed solutions are unclear. New ingredients for feeds are desired in the framework of sustainability and a circular economy; thus, initiatives for implementing such novel ingredients are of interest to agricultural practitioners. As research continues on the potential contribution of insect-based feeds in aquaculture in Kenya, understanding stakeholders’ perspectives about the use of black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) meal is critically important. Given that no such studies have been conducted in Kenya, the overarching goal was to quantify stakeholder perspectives on the use of BSFL meal in aquaculture. Specifically, the objectives of the study were to 1) determine stakeholders’ perceived benefits and perceived risks regarding the use of BSFL meal in aquaculture; 2) identify the important considerations when legalising BSFL meal in Kenya; and 3) determine the driving factors to promote the adoption of BSFL in fish production. Purposive sampling was used to select forty (40) experts for a Delphi study, 24 of whom responded. The Kendall’s coefficient of concordance was used to assess the experts’ consensus. The results study results suggest that there is agreement among stakeholders regarding the need to use BSFL as alternative protein ingredient in aquaculture. There was a significantly higher perception of benefits of BSFL in aquafeed than of risks, signifying a high degree of acceptance. Sanitary policy and inspection, feed safety, environmental influences and fish quality were given as the top-ranked important considerations when legalising BSFL in aquaculture. Creating and enhancing fish farmers’ awareness of the benefits of BSFL in fish production (100%) was ranked as the most important driving factor, followed by identifying pioneer farmers of safe BSFL production and their introduction as the leading farmers. Consequently, the study recommends the need for academia, government and industries to collaborate closely to develop technology on the use of BSFL in aquaculture. If further recommends that the fish farmers and insect farmers should be engaged in the process, as this might increase the acceptance of BSFL in aquaculture upon its legalisation.