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

8 July 2014 Video - Written and created by Mitchell Moffit (twitter @mitchellmoffit) and Gregory Brown (twitter @whalewatchmeplz). [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]
Edible insects in Lao PDR: Building on tradition to enhance food security 13 June 2014 The percentage of the population of Lao PDR that regularly consumes insects is among the highest in the world. Recognizing that edible insects provide many health, nutrition, environmental and livelihood benefits, recent efforts have been made to build upon these traditions and increase awareness and appreciation of the benefits of edible insects. FAO is pleased to have supported these efforts, particularly through the Sustainable insect farming and harvesting for better nutrition, improved food security and household income generation in Lao PDR Project, implemented from 2010 to 2013. [more]

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last updated:  Wednesday, May 28, 2014