ITOCHU Announces Formation of Strategic Partnership with Musca Inc., the Insect Technology Company

April 23, 2019

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Yoshihisa Suzuki, President & COO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that it has invested in Musca Inc. (headquartered in Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka; Ayano Ryugo, Representative Director & CEO; hereinafter “Musca”), which has developed a 100% biomass recycling system using insects. In addition to this investment, ITOCHU and Musca have entered into a strategic partnership.

At this time of an impending global food crisis, the supply of fishmeal as a natural resource will approach its limit and the feed (fishmeal) market will grow from 6.3 billion US dollars (2017) to 12.0 billion US dollars (2026). The organic fertilizer market is also expected to expand from 5.9 billion US dollars (2017) to 8.3 billion US dollars (2023), in step with rising populations.*1

Musca has established a 100% biomass recycling system using insects (house fly larvae). The research for this system has its origins in the space exploration-related technologies of the former Soviet Union. Generally, it takes at least two to three months to make compost from livestock manure because it relies on slow microbial activities. This composting process also causes problematic greenhouse gas emissions. In contrast, Musca’s system, which uses insects, can convert manure into fertilizer in approximately one week. This involves less greenhouse gas emissions and thus has a lower environmental impact as the manure is decomposed by the insects’ digestive enzymes. The insects that have grown by this system are provided to livestock farmers, fish farmers, and other users, thereby also supplementing the feed market as it approaches its supply limit.

In addition to investing in Musca, ITOCHU will also plan to participate in the first biomass recycling plant of Musca, which will be the first of its kind in Japan. Taking advantage of ITOCHU Group’s networks in Japan and abroad, ITOCHU will create synergies with the biomass recycling plant and other initiatives through its existing projects and businesses. ITOCHU will thus play a role in helping to avert a future food crisis and will aim to achieve a recycling-oriented society aiming towards sustainable global development.

Under its medium-term management plan, “Brand-new Deal 2020 – ITOCHU: INIFINITE MISSIONS: INNOVATION,” ITOCHU has committed to policies to “Reinvent businesses through technological innovation” and “Contribute to the realization of a low-carbon society.” The above initiatives are in alignment with these policies. ITOCHU believes that these initiatives are also highly significant from the viewpoint of promoting sustainability. Through its business activities, ITOCHU will be proactive in building a recycling-oriented society.

  • *1Sources: Fishmeal - Global Market Outlook (2017-2026)
    Global Organic Fertilizers Market (2013-2023)