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

4 March 2015 Like the prototypical Silicon Valley startup, Oakland-based Tiny Farms is launching in a garage, the brainchild of tech world founders. But instead of working on the next app, the company is trying to build a model for a better cricket farm—the type of industrial-scale facility that could eventually make eating bugs as accessible as chicken. [more]
3 March 2015 BANGKOK, Feb 27 — Street vendors selling deep-fried insects as snacks are a familiar sight in Bangkok, but a Thai entrepreneur is trying to give edible bugs a more upmarket appeal. Panitan Tongsiri will launch his “HiSo”, short for high-society, brand of seasoned insect snacks in March and plans to stock them at gourmet food markets around the Thai capital. [more]
3 March 2015 While it might sound like something out of the Survivor reality show, two University of Oregon students have found a way to increase the world’s intake of protein without clearing another acre of forest. Cricket Flour is not a trendy name; it’s an actual description of what Charles Wilson and Omar Ellis are bringing to market—and it’s tastier than you might think. [more]

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last updated:  Tuesday, February 17, 2015