Trends towards 2050 predict a steady population increase to 9 billion people, forcing an increased food/feed output from available agro-ecosystems resulting in an even greater pressure on the environment. Scarcities of agricultural land, water, forest, fishery and biodiversity resources, as well as nutrients and non-renewable 
energy are foreseen. 

The Contribution of Insects to Food Security, Livelihoods and the Environment

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Edible insects contain high quality protein, vitamins and amino acids for humans. Insects have a high food conversion rate, e.g. crickets need six times less feed than cattle, four times less than sheep, and twice less than pigs and broiler chickens to produce the same amount of protein. Besides, they emit less greenhouse gases and ammonia than conventional livestock. Insects can be grown on organic waste. Therefore, insects are a potential source for conventional production (mini-livestock) of protein, either for direct human consumption, or indirectly in recomposed foods (with extracted protein from insects); and as a protein source into feedstock mixtures.

Since 2003, FAO has been working on topics pertaining to edible insects in many countries worldwide. FAO’s contributions cover the following thematic areas:

  • the generation and sharing of knowledge through publications, expert meetings and a web portal on edible insects;
  • awareness-raising on the role of insects through media collaboration (e.g. newspapers, magazines and TV);
  • the provision of support to member countries through field projects (e.g. the Laos Technical Cooperation Project);
  • networking and multidisciplinary interactions (e.g. stakeholders working with nutrition, feed and legislation-related issues) with various sectors within and outside FAO .

 News

14 March 2019 The ‘International Platform of Insects for Food & Feed’ , which is the EU umbrella organisation for the insect production sector, unveils today a guidance document on the best practices in quality and hygienic insect production. [more]
14 March 2019 Global edible insects market has shown strong growth pattern in recent year’s majorly due growing population and decreasing food resources, increasing demand for protein rich food, high cost of animal protein, environmental sustainability with production and consumption of edible insects, high nutritional value of insects, and low risk of transmitting zoonotic diseases. [more]
14 March 2019 If you're a sushi fan, chances are you might enjoy some deep-fried crickets or beetles on the side. An international study led by La Trobe University and the University of Pennsylvania, has found that people who frequently consume sushi are more open to introducing edible insects into their diets. [more]

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last updated:  Thursday, May 9, 2019