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

16 July 2014 "Un grillo salverà il pianeta". Al Chimali, il X Congresso di chimica alimentare in svolgimento all'università di Firenze, sono stati presentati diversi progetti per contrastare la scarsità di risorse alimentari nel mondo. La Republica.it [more]
BBC Future: Could insects feed the hungry world of tomorrow? 15 July 2014 The world is running out of resources to feed the animals we raise for food. As the human population rises, should we be making more of our meals from insects? [more]
Wageningen UR opens application centre for edible insects on 3 July 23 June 2014 The official opening of Insect Point, housed in the BioScience Center in Lelystad, will take place at 16.00 hrs on Thursday 3 July. Insect Point will be used by Wageningen UR (University & Research centre), entrepreneurs and fellow knowledge institutes to work together on the production of edible insects for human and animal consumption. [more]

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last updated:  Wednesday, May 28, 2014