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


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 .


15 October 2014 Billions more hungry mouths are going to put more strain on the planet’s resources. Can eating creepy crawlies offer a solution? Emily Anthes reports. [more]
13 October 2014 Thursday 16th October, Milan: Convention: Feeding the planet with new and sustainable sources. Organized by Salone Internazionale della Ricerca, Innovazione e Sicurezza Alimentare e Comitato Scientifico “Le Università per EXPO 2015”. In collaborazione con: Università degli Studi dell’Insubria, Dipartimento di Biotecnologie e Scienze della Vita e Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Centro di ricerca per lo sviluppo sostenibile, Università degli Studi di Milano e Consiglio per la Ricerca e la Sperimentazione in Agricoltura di Padova. [more]
10 October 2014 AUSTIN, Texas—Why aren’t you eating bugs? They’re tiny terrors to some, but to a large percentage of the world, including many countries in Africa and Asia, they’re nutritious delicacies and environmentally-friendly to raise. [more]

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last updated:  Monday, September 22, 2014