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 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]
16 April 2015 Bug Snacks Move To Store Shelves In Thailand [more]
15 April 2015 The consumption of insects is a common practice in some parts of the world (Africa, Asia, Latin America), where it may become part of the traditional food culture. To meet the challenge of feeding the world in 2030, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has ruled in favor of the development of large-scale breeding insects. In anticipation of a possible development of these products in Europe or France, ANSES has made ​​an inventory of scientific knowledge on the risks associated with the consumption of insects. [more]

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last updated:  Thursday, April 16, 2015