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

20 September 2018 Insects are increasingly being introduced in food systems, either directly or through animal nutrition. The seminar/webinar will provide the opportunity to learn more about insect production processes and use, the implication for sustainability, feed/food security, feed/food safety, animal health and welfare, and containment of antimicrobial resistance. It will also address the trends and foresight for market expansion and the legislative frameworks regulating the production of insects (or the lack of it). Tarique Arsiwalla, founder of Protix – a company producing insects for feed, food and industrial applications – will provide a presentation, followed by an open discussion. The seminar/webinar is part of the Feed Safety Multi-Stakeholder Partnership series and is organized by the Feed Safety Multi-Stakeholder Partnership in collaboration with the Livestock Technical Network and the Food Safety Technical Network.Join the webinar at: 12:30 – 14:00 CST (GMT +2). [more]
20 September 2018 Insects are increasingly being introduced in food systems, either directly or through animal nutrition. The seminar/webinar will provide the opportunity to learn more about insect production processes and use, the implication for sustainability, feed/food security, feed/food safety, animal health and welfare, and containment of antimicrobial resistance. It will also address the trends and foresight for market expansion and the legislative frameworks regulating the production of insects (or the lack of it). Tarique Arsiwalla, founder of Protix – a company producing insects for feed, food and industrial applications – will provide a presentation, followed by an open discussion. The seminar/webinar is part of the Feed Safety Multi-Stakeholder Partnership series and is organized by the Feed Safety Multi-Stakeholder Partnership in collaboration with the Livestock Technical Network and the Food Safety Technical Network. [more]
9 April 2018 While a plate piled high with hairy, palm-sized tarantulas is the stuff of nightmares for some, these garlic fried spiders are a coveted treat in Cambodia, where the only fear is that they may soon vanish due to deforestation and unchecked hunting. [more]

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last updated:  Friday, July 6, 2018