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

28 August 2014 A wave of startups is pushing chips, bars, flour and more made out of crickets and other critters. [more]
28 August 2014 BRUSSELS—Celebrity chef Sang Hoon Degeimbre is helping to create buzz about bugs in Belgium. At a recent evening cooking master class, he provoked gasps among a group of gourmets when he disclosed that the "minced lamb" they had just eaten was really mealworms. The larval beetles had been marinated in ginger, pear and herbs, and sautéed with garden vegetables. [more]
27 August 2014 Insekten sind reich an Nährstoffen und schonen die Umwelt. In Thailand können inzwischen viele Bauern davon leben, die kleinen Krabbler in Lebensmittelqualität zu verkaufen. Die Bauern im Nordosten von Thailand führen ein hartes Leben: Sie bestellen ihre Reisfelder und wissen dennoch nie genau, ob sie ihre Familien ernähren können. Wenn der Regen ausbleibt, stehen sie vor dem Nichts. Einige Dörfer dieser ärmsten Region des Landes setzen nun auf Insekten - und sind damit erfolgreich. [more]

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last updated:  Friday, August 29, 2014