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

10 September 2014 A food company has created a range of energy bars made from ground up crickets. What started out as a far-out Kickstarter project last year is now a real product available to buy - and makers say the bars are a more sustainable source of protein than other, animal-based alternatives. [more]
2 September 2014 Forest-based goods such as bamboo, rattan, and yes, edible spiders — a delicacy in Cambodia — can provide an incentive to protect tropical forests in the Southeast Asian country. But formalized programs to promote sustainable trade in such products while boosting local people’s incomes have left communities there disillusioned, new research has found . [more]
28 August 2014 A wave of startups is pushing chips, bars, flour and more made out of crickets and other critters. [more]

More news

last updated:  Wednesday, September 10, 2014