Small businesses that are offered the chance to grow can set important developments in motion. That’s why Rabobank is investing in Protix, a company that produces insects for animal feed using food scraps from the agri sector.
Just imagine, using food scraps from the agri sector as feed to breed insects, which in turn are processed sustainably into high-value protein for animal feed and lipids for mixed feed. That is exactly what Kees Aarts and Tarique Arsiwalla are doing as owners of the Dutch company Protix, based in Dongen.
Protix is one of the world’s front runners of this promising technology. The company uses a special insect chain to create feed from food scraps. The insects feed off these food scraps and are then processed sustainably into high quality proteins for animal feed. Protein is an essential nutrient of many animal feeds and is often derived from soy beans. However, increasing soy bean production is the cause of extensive deforestation in producing countries, whereas insects constitute a sustainable alternative.
Aarts and Arsiwalla’s idea – and in particular their implementation of that idea in technological terms – has been widely praised and has generated a great deal of interest. Last week, the previously communicated agreement with 60 Rabobank stakeholders was officially signed. Rabobank therefore played an important role in concluding the total financing of 45M €. Protix can now significantly scale up their innovative production method.
After years of preparation, Protix set up a commercial factory to prove that the industrial production of proteins and lipids from insects is viable. Before construction of the commercial factory got underway, Protix looked for a number of strategic partners. The chairman of the board of Protix’ local Rabobank branch brought together six Rabobank branches with a focus on Food & Agri, who used their cooperative dividend as a financial contribution to develop the chain.
Protix is now ready for the next step which is to build a new, ‘green’ factory with increased production capacity and to realise a solid, financial basis for operations with multiple centralised and decentralised production units. That will entail significant scale-up and Rabobank is helping Protix to do so. The bank has both the network and the knowledge available at national and international level to bring larger parties together and to arrange financing. As a result, Kees Aarts and Tarique Arsiwalla from Protix, Walter van Dinther from Rabobank De Zuidelijke Baronie and Ruud Huirne from Rabobank Nederland got together on 8 November to sign the previously communicated finance agreement for upscaling production. This was planned to coincide with a national meeting of Rabobank Food & Agri managers as Protix’ story serves as an inspiring example of how to nurture small ideas into great things.