Have you heard the buzz about entomophagy, the practice of eating insects? It’s more common than you might think. Two billion people around the world consume insects as a regular part of their diet. Beetle larvae, caterpillars, grasshoppers, crickets, termites and stink bugs are particularly popular as edibles.
Insects are considered delicacies in some communities and provide an important nutritional boost to undernourished people in others. Rearing or harvesting insects requires very little feed, land and water compared with raising conventional livestock like cows and chickens, which is part of why insects are trending in conversations about sustainable food systems. In the years ahead, insects have great potential to fill an ever-growing need for protein, fatty acids and key minerals in the diets of both humans and livestock.
In this blog series, I will explore the relevance of entomophagy to global food security. I will address questions such as:
- Who is eating insects? Where and why?
- How nutritious are insects, and how might they contribute to sustainable diets?
- What are some examples of insect-based livelihoods in developing countries?
- Why should agricultural development practitioners care about edible insects, and what actions should we take?
For a quick introduction to entomophagy and its role in agricultural development, check out this six-minute lightning talk:
If you are up for a longer read, I highly recommend FAO’s 2013 report, “Edible Insects: Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security”. This report examines and summarizes the available research on entomophagy. It interweaves case studies, personal examples, caveats, and knowledge gaps to make the case for further attention to edible insects in a global food security context.
What questions do you have about edible insects? Share them in the comments below, or email me, and I will do my best to answer your questions in future blog posts!
This blog post was cross-posted from Agrilinks.