Market stall, Vientiane, Lao PDR
People, mostly women and children, gather a wide range of edible insects in forests and other areas surrounding their village. Gathering insects is mostly done for subsistence uses, but also for sale at local markets. Almost all of the consumed insects are collected from the wild.
Information about the amount of edible insects eaten and how much they contribute to livelihoods is scarce. Because of seasonality most edible insects harvested provide only food and income for a short period of the year. However, in some regions of Africa consumption of insects has been estimated to fluctuate from 2 to 30 percent of meat consumption during a year, depending on the availability of insect species. A comparison can be made with summer and winter vegetables.
In some countries, such as Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and China, few insects are “farmed” for cash income. However cricket farms are widespread in Thailand.