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martes, 6 de junio 2023
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In Mutatá, Peace Signatories Use Tilapia Viscera in Poultry Feed Production

By: Julián David Ospina Sánchez - Journalist

In the New Reincorporation Area (NAR in Spanish) of San José de León, in Mutatá, the viscera of red tilapia are being transformed and used as input to produce poultry feed. This circular economy model seeks to transfer UdeA's knowledge to communities and generate installed capacities to support the implementation of the Peace Agreement.

Teaching how to ensile or transform viscera into a nutrient mixture is one of the outstanding contributions of the BUPPE project. Photo: Nutrition and Food Technology Group, UdeA.

Universidad de Antioquia came to the NAR of San José de León, one of the 25 such units in the country, to help signatories of the Peace Agreement between the national government and FARC-EP sustainably optimize their productive projects so that they can settle back into society.

The University has kept its commitment to sustainable peace as a premise. In this area of 47 hectares, it has worked to improve the production of red tilapia together with the signatories living in the NAR of San José de León. In this process, two concerns arose: what to do with the viscera of the fish processed for subsequent commercialization and how to reduce the organic waste generated.

"Thus, the project ‘Production of poultry feed from red tilapia viscera silage at Cooperativa Multiactiva La Fortuna de Mutatá’ was born. It won the 2020 call to participate in UdeA’s University Bank of Outreach Programs and Projects (BUPPE in Spanish)", commented José Edgar Zapata Montoya. José is a researcher at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical and Food Sciences and the Nutrition and Food Technology Group. He is also the leader of the project. 

In July 2021, work began between members of the Cooperativa Multiactiva La Fortuna and Universidad de Antioquia. The Agency for Reincorporation and Normalization (ARN in Spanish) and Paso Colombia, an NGO devoted to innovative peace-building programs, supported the process. Due to the health conditions imposed by the pandemic, the meetings were initially virtual. Then they turned into visits to make the production of a new type of feed for chickens and hens a reality.

"It is a very nice experience that shows us that they want to invest in our education and in improving the community’s quality of life," said Iván Loaiza Hincapié, signatory of the Peace Agreement.

"With the fluctuating participation of signatories to the agreement and members of the community, we began by removing the red tilapia viscera and carrying out a biotechnological process called silage, which results in a mixture of proteins, minerals and other nutrients," explained Yohan Sebastián Gaviria Gaviria, a researcher at UdeA.

The product of this process -silage- was tested to ensure that it contained the nutritional variables required by poultry: chickens and hens. This raw material was mixed with cassava flour produced in the same region and evaluated in the laboratories of the University. "The sum of the components was ground in a handmade machine, and the result was the new feed," said Zapata Montoya.  

The equipment used is designed to be easily implemented in other rural areas. Photo: Nutrition and Food Technology Group, UdeA.

First results

“The most important contribution of the project in the NAR, in the medium term, should be to reduce the costs of raising chickens and hens,” said Juan Sebastián Yepes, a member of Paso Colombia. He added that the initiative has generated significant interest among the Cooperativa Multiactiva La Fortuna members because they will be able to extend their knowledge to the production of food for fish and pigs, among other animals, in the future.

According to the researchers, the silage production has thus far reduced the environmental impact of organic waste disposal by 15%. "It is a demonstration that the source of income for the villagers - the sale of red tilapia - can continue more cleanly," Gaviria Gaviria noted.

In addition, thanks to the findings and progress of the project, which won the BUPPE call, Paso Colombia and the ARN began to build a plant in the territory to improve animal feed production.

However, the project continues, and difficulties related to the remoteness of the territory, communication and more active community involvement need to be overcome. "We continue in an intense process so that each stage of production has people who make it their own, and greater benefits are generated," said Professor Zapata Montoya.

Cooperativa Multiactiva La Fortuna (Coofortuna)

Twenty-five former FARC-EP combatants who arrived in this rural area of the municipality of Mutatá founded the cooperative. Today it has a total of 60 members. 

Coofortuna has implemented fish farming projects that produce 4 tons of fish per month. In addition, Coofortuna is currently working on a plan to create poultry sheds for approximately 200 chickens.

The union between the cooperative and the University was sealed since its creation, and today it is strengthened with the new alternative to feed birds through a circular economy model.

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