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

7 May 2015 A future in which cricket chips could be found on the shelves of an American grocery store next to their potato- and corn-based peers might not be that far off -- or at least that’s the hope of a number of start-ups selling food products that incorporate edible insects as key ingredients. [more]
Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General, says eating insects is good for the environment 4 May 2015 Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan praises the consumption of insects as alternative protein sources and how ordinary people can make a difference to mitigate climate change....... “......And of course there are alternative sources of protein. For example, raising insects as an animal protein source. Insects have a very good conversion rate from feed to meat. They make up part of the diet of two billion people and are commonly eaten in many parts of the world. Eating insects is good for the environment and balanced diets.....” [more]
16 April 2015 They hop. They crawl. They squirm. And they could be coming to a dinner plate near you. An increasing number of "entopreneurs" are launching businesses to feed a growing appetite for crickets, mealworms and other edible insects. [more]

More news

last updated:  Thursday, April 16, 2015