Here is our regular update on business developments from around the globe.

Cockroach farming on the rise in China

This sounds absurd. Cockroaches being farmed? But, it’s all for a good cause. On the outskirts of Jinan in China, a cockroach farming plant feeds 50 tons of waste food to a billion cockroaches daily. In China, waste food is a problem, more so with the ban on using it as pig food due to swine fever outbreaks. There is even more reason to keep cockroaches. At their death, cockroaches can be sold to fisheries as feed or to pharmaceutical companies as medicinal ingredients. Researchers are also looking into using cockroach extract in beauty masks, diet pills and hair loss treatments. What if the cockroaches escape? Won’t nearby homes be infested? Fortunately, this is well taken care of. Cockroach farms have a moat filled with water and fish surrounding cockroach shelters. If cockroaches escape, they will fall into the moat and fish will eat them. We await our first Zimbabwean cockroach farmer. See more about this story here.

Forest cities and smart cities under construction

In Malaysia, the Forest City, a new development that sits on land reclaimed from the sea is being built. It will house 700 000 people at its completion in 2035 and aims to create 220 000 jobs. The city will have no cars and eco-skyscrapers are set to be covered in plants to reduce noise and air pollution. A similar development is taking shape near Liuzhou in China. It will house 30 000 people. Also named Forest City, it will feature spaces and buildings covered in plants and trees providing a perfect environment for birds, insects and people to thrive. The project aims to combat air pollution by absorbing Carbon Dioxide and producing Oxygen. In the Arizona desert, Microsoft founder Bill Gates is creating a smart city which will house 182 000 inhabitants. It will feature high speed internet connectivity, self driving cars and smart traffic lights that minimize congestion. This could work for Harare.

Flow rewards tenants for good behaviour

Closer to home, South African start up Flow has developed an app that rewards tenants for registering, adding their property details, paying rentals on time and looking after their homes. So disruptive is the app that Flow has secured about US$1.47 million funding to fuel growth, increase their tenant base and also increase the range of rewards they offer. Imagine being rewarded as a tenant. This is a first.  Read more here.

Kenyans using catapults to plant trees

Only 7% of Kenya is covered in forest. This is less than the 10% recommended by the United Nations. Now, Kenya is using catapults to plant trees. Cattle and goat herders collect seed balls from conservationists whenever they go into the forest to herd cattle and goats. These seed balls are made of charcoal dust, cassava starch and tree seeds. As the herd boys shoot for birds, the seed balls will fall on the ground and germinate. The ultimate goal is to reduce deforestation. To scale up the project, conservationists regularly organise shooting competitions where the one who shoots the furthest wins the competition. More and more trees are being planting that way.  Read more here.

As usual, Zimbabwe can learn a lot and adopt some of the latest innovations coming out from other countries.