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Why we’re involved in a project in Africa to promote edible insects

There is a wealth of indigenous knowledge about capturing and eating insects in sub-Saharan Africa. But the development of edible insects as a food industry has been very slow, despite its many potential benefits.

Anneli Sundin, Robert Musundire / Published on 28 November 2019
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Anneli Sundin /

Small bowl of roasted Mopane worm, Gonimbrasia belina, at a market in Zambia. Photo: Rainer Lesniewski/Getty Images

The AgriFoSe2030 programme has been supporting a project on edible insects in Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo for the last two years.

The project leader, Dr. Robert Musundire (Chinhoyi University of Technology), and SEI’s communications officer, Anneli Sundin, explain in The Conversation Africa the benefits of insects for both food for humans and feed for animals. Benefits include their small carbon and water footprint, their nutritional value and also that “in disaster-struck areas, edible insects can build resilience by being a food resource in recovery programmes”.

There is momentum in this emerging industry with many exciting initiatives in the edible insect value chain, and policy-makers across Africa can work to foster an environment where the industry can grow efficiently and sustainably.

“There should be more awareness and promotion of insects as food for humans and as feed for animals, especially at the policy, legislative and business level. In most African nations, edible insects are still viewed as an insignificant source of food and even, in some instances, as food for the poor. There are very few success stories of large-scale insect farming and industrial use in Africa.”

About AgriFoSe2030

The AgriFoSe2030 programme contributes to sustainable intensification of agriculture for increased food production on existing agricultural land; the aim is to do so by transforming practices toward more efficient use of human, financial and natural resources. The programme is developed by a consortium of scientists from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Lund University, University of Gothenburg and Stockholm Environment Institute. The programme is funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida).

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