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

15 January 2015 What is insect farming actually like? To find the answer to that question, we contacted Robert Nathan Allen, Aspire U.S.’s marketing manager based out of Texas, where they rear and process crickets. [more]
9 January 2015 Emily Anthes braves locusts, beetles, mealworms and more as she asks whether eating insects is the answer to feeding ever more humans and livestock. [more]
Video: Can insects help feed a hungry world? 15 December 2014 Edible insects are growing in popularity across Cameroon as a savoury meal and are a well known rich source of protein. FRANCE 24 reports on an unusual culinary trend that some experts say could help feed a hungry and fast-growing planet. [more]

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last updated:  Thursday, December 4, 2014