French insect breeder Å¸nsect has raised $125m to build an automated factory near Amiens in the north of France to breed yellow mealworm beetles for fish and pet food.
According to the Paris-based company, the farm will be fully automated and able to produce about 20,000 tons of protein per year. It is also planning to produce a factory in North America.
Antoine Hubert, Å¸nsect’s chief executive, said in a statement yesterday: "Å¸nsect is becoming the world’s largest insect producer, whatever the species, thanks to our unique, highly scalable and pioneering technology."
The company comments that aquaculture is playing "a critical role in human nutrition, growing faster than any other protein source for human consumption. Around half of the fish we eat today comes from farmed sources. Yet fishmeal, the primary food source for farmed fish, is in crisis because it’s derived from fast-depleting ocean fish".
The company says the sum raised is the largest ever for an "agtech" investment outside the US. Construction of the factory is set to begin in 2019.
Image: Yellow mealworms – a good source of protein (Å¸nsect)