Hungry? Grub's Up!

Farmer's Weekly|January 17, 2020

Hungry? Grub's Up!
As the popularity of alternative protein sources rises, the idea of consuming insects has become more palatable to the general population. While insect farming is still a long way from being commercialised on a mass scale, opportunities for both human and animal consumption are set to increase. Lindi Botha spoke to Prof Margaret Matanda from the University of Sydney Business School, Australia, about research being conducted on the feasibility of the industry.
Margaret Matanda

What is the value of the edible insects industry?

Insects are consumed by over two billion people worldwide. The UN estimates that the global edible insect market will be worth $8 billion [about R115 billion] in 10 years.

According to the UN, the world’s population is expected to increase to nine billion by 2040. To provide this number with nutritionally balanced meals that are economically feasible, food production has to increase by 40%.

With insect farming, less space, and fewer agricultural chemical inputs, energy and fuel are required, which means that insects have a much smaller carbon footprint than cattle or poultry. This also makes insect production more sustainable than other forms of protein, so its value in terms of benefits to the environment and global food chains is also noteworthy.

What type of insects are edible and suitable for commercialisation?

Edible insects vary a lot across countries. What is ultimately consumed is influenced by cultural factors as well as religious beliefs. However, in East and Southern Africa there’s a higher acceptance and consumption of edible insects than in other parts of the world.

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January 17, 2020