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Small-scale farming of Edible Insects & Potential Contributions to Community Nutrition in Southeast Asia

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This presentation was held at AIDF's Asia Food Security Summit 2014 in Jakarta. It takes a look at edible insect farming from a food and nutrition security perspective and Veterinarians without Borders' (VWB) work on insects in Laos.

Farming of edible insects has big potential to ease the double burden of poverty and malnutrition. In many countries people love insects, and farmed insects are an excellent source of valuable protein, fats, and micro-nutrients. Insect farming is easy to learn, requires minimal time and money, and provides food for families. Insect farming has also significant advantages over the collection of wild insects in terms of improved availability, accessibility, and utilization of insects.

Environmentally sustainable, insects have a much better feed conversion and produce significantly less greenhouse gases than conventional livestock. Moreover, the sales of insects and insect products can provide additional income for poor people.

VWB has launched 2 cricket farming projects in Central Laos, involving a total of 36 households in two provinces, working mostly with women household members.

VWB's action-research approach involves the support of farmers to improve family diets, income, and also value-added foods such as cricket noodles. VWB is also studying the impact of cricket farming on child and maternal nutrition.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Small-scale farming of Edible Insects & Potential Contributions to Community Nutrition in Southeast Asia

  1. 1. Thomas Weigel Project Manager Mini-Livestock VWB/VSF-Canada Nabong, Laos Small-scale farming of Edible Insects & Potential Contributions to Community Nutrition in Southeast Asia (SEA)
  2. 2. Outline of the Presentation 1. Insect consumption: where, why & barriers 2. Insect farming: Sustainable Development & Food/Nutrition Security 3. VWB‘s Cricket Rearing Project in Laos 4. Value-Added Insect Products 5. Challenges to Insect Farming & Products 6. Conclusions & Recommendations
  3. 3. 1. Cricket farming: an innovative approach of adressing food & nutrition insecurity & a sustainable livelihoods activity, which takes climate change into account 2. Insect-based products – new products with potential for additional income & nutrition 3. Development community has to address challenges Key messages of this presentation
  4. 4. Context of the Presentation • Increasing world population & increasing demand for animal-based protein • FAO estimates: 70% increase of food production to feed 9 billion by 2050 • Animal feed production increasingly competing for natural resources with human food, fuel production & urbanization • Limits of conventional livestock production (e.g. land conversion), decrease of people active in agriculture • 70% of agricultural land used directly/indirectly for meat production • Inter-linkages between agricultural/livestock production & climate change • Prevailing food & nutrition insecurity (62% of world‘s undernourished live in Asia)
  5. 5. Eating Insects – World wide • Worldwide 2 billion people eat insects- 1,900 edible insect species • 97% of children & adults in Laos eat insects Myth: Insects = Emergency food Fact: People love eating insects!
  6. 6. Insect Trading at Dong Maakhai Market, Laos
  7. 7. Insect species traded Stinkbugs Water scavangers Bamboo worms Mole cricket Weaver ant pupae Grasshoppers Grasshopper (big) Beetles Stinkbugs Water scavangers Bamboo worms Mole cricket Beetles Stinkbugs Water scavangers Bamboo worms Mole cricket Weaver ant pupae Grasshoppers Grasshopper (big) Beetles Stinkbugs Water scavangers Bamboo worms Mole cricketStinkbugs Water scavangers Bamboo worms
  8. 8. Sales of Insects at Nong Xeuam Restaurant
  9. 9. Eating Insects – High Income Countries People more reserved... But... • In Japan, insects part of traditional diets • In Italy, Croatia & Germany: cheese with insects! Moreover, ...
  10. 10. ... changes are happening Increased attention by scientific & development community Insects & products: novel & exotic food in Europe & the US
  11. 11. Why promote eating of insects? 1. They are tasty! 2 billion people love to eat them! 2. Health • Healthy & nutritious: rich in protein, fat & micronutrients • 64.5 mill. ppl. undernourished in SEA • Laos: 50% of children <5 yrs stunted • Micronutrient deficiencies: 40% of children <5 yrs. anaemic & vitamin A deficient in Laos 3. Environment • Climate friendly & land-independent production • Efficient food conversion
  12. 12. FAO/INFOODS. (2013). FAO/INFOODS Food Composition Database for Biodiversity Version 2.1 – BioFoodComp2.1 (pp. 1-31). Retrieved from http://www.fao.org/docrep/019/i3560e/i3560e.pdf
  13. 13. Barriers to insect consumption Limited availability of wild insects • Most edible insects collected from nature • Dependent on season • High demand • Environmental factors Limited accessibility of wild insects • Time: Women involved in household, childcare & other duties • Insects are expensive Utilization issues related to wild insects • Chemical risks: pesticides, heavy metals & other toxines • Parasitical risks: intestinal flukes in water insects & beetles (raw consumption)
  14. 14. The solution... 1. A sustainable livelihoods activity, which also takes climate change into account! 2. Improves food & nutrition security at the household level & has the potential to go beyond! Insect Farming
  15. 15. Insect Farming: a sustainable livelihoods activity 1. Economically sustainable • Low capital input • Frequent income within short time • Potential for value-added products 2. Socially sustainable • Culturally accepted: insects already part of traditional diets • Inclusive: pro-poor, suitable for vulnerable groups, urban & rural
  16. 16. 3. Environmentally sustainable • Climate-friendly production • No land conversion/degradation • Preservation of wild insect populations 4. Climate change considerate • Prevention: complementary protein supply • Adaptation: less impacted by climate-related events • Mitigation: shorter-term availability of nutrients as compared to other agricultural activties (45 days) Insect Farming: a sustainable livelihoods activity
  17. 17. Insect Farming for Food & Nutrition Security 1. Increased availability • Sufficient amount of insects the whole year • Enables production of insect-based products 2. Increased accessibility • No need to buy; often gifted to relatives/friends; sold at lower price in rural areas • No need to collect (women) • Insect-based products & fortified foods reach wider range of consumers • Income generation: more money available to buy food
  18. 18. Insect Farming for Food & Nutrition Security 3. Improved Utilization • Production in controlled environment = less hazards • Fosters home gardening = source of feed • Promotion together with health/nutrition education
  19. 19. Main Partner • Faculty of Agriculture/National University of Laos Activities • Consultation & Farm visit • Workshops & Trainings • Mentoring Successes to date • 15 families running cricket farms – 14 women! • 110kg harvest in August! VWB‘S Cricket Rearing Project
  20. 20. Cage construction Cricket Rearing Activities • Farmer-2-Farmer exchange • Workshops & Trainings • Mentoring Successes to date • 15 families running cricket farms • 110kg harvest in August! Food processing Healthy diets Cricket farming & lifecycle Setting up cagesVisit of cricket farm
  21. 21. Setting up the cricket farms
  22. 22. 40 days later...
  23. 23. Insect products Value-added products • Income opportunity & benefits for nutrition • Thailand = showcase Fortified foods • Micronutrient-rich foods for complementary feeding of infants/young children • E.g. WinFood Cereals
  24. 24. Cricket products Exploring products • Fried crickets • Chili sauce with crickets • Cricket chips • Cricket noodles
  25. 25. Workshop on cricket processing Frying the crickets Adding spices Bamboo soup + crickets Enjoying the food together
  26. 26. Training on Healthy Diets Cricket menu • Cricket soup • Spicy-sour cricket salad (yam) • Cricket larb
  27. 27. Challenges to Insect Farming & Products Limited experiences • ... with other insect species • ... with production of insect-based products Economic issues • Commercial chicken feed expensive • Acessing markets outside rural areas difficult • Limited facilities to produce range of value-added products Ethical conflicts • Human food vs. animal feed production • Supply for local consumers vs. export
  28. 28. Conclusions & Recommendations Insect farming is a culturally appropriate means to improve food & nutrition security Insect products have big potential for additional income & nutritious food
  29. 29. 1. Pilot studies to adress knowledge gaps • Suitable insect species & rearing techniques • Low-cost alternative to commercial chicken feed (e.g. Moringa) • Value-added products suitable for village production 2. Explore options for food fortification 3. Investment & Support • Development of village production facilities (grants, investment, suitable public SME- development programs) • Marketing support Conclusions & Recommendations
  30. 30. 4. Knowledge exchange • Set up communities of practice & share best pratices/lessons learned 5. Promote benefits of insect farming for local communities • Ensure that food/nutrition security for poorer people are kept in focus & not become secondary to promoting export & feed production for livestock Conclusions & Recommendations
  31. 31. Thanks to all our partners, funders and my colleagues Sonia Fèvre, Dr. Malavanh, Dr. Bounpheng, Dr. Thonglom, Dr. Sayvisene and Dr. Daovy for making this work possible! VWB/VSF https://www.vetswithoutborders.ca https://www.facebook.com/VetswithoutBorders http://blog.vetswithoutborders.ca Thomas Weigel Email: thomas@vetswithoutborders.ca Twitter: VWB_VSF_Insects Thank you for your attention! Any Questions?
  32. 32. Belluco, S., Losasso, C., Maggioletti, M., Alonzi, C. C., Paoletti, M. G., & Ricci, A. (2013). Edible insects in a food safety and nutritional perspective: a critical review. Comprehensive reviews in food science and food safety, 12(3), 296-313. Durst, P. B., Johnson, D. V., Leslie, R. N., & Shono, K. (2010). Forest insects as food: humans bite back. FAO. Food and Agriculture Organization. (2012). Assessing the Potential of Insects as Food and Feed in assuring Food Security P. Vantomme, E. Mertens, A. van Huis & K. Harmke (Eds.), Summary Report of the Technical Consultation Meeting in Rome on 23-25 January 2012 (pp. 1-27). Halloran, A., & Vantomme, P. (2013). Information guide: The contribution of insects to food security, livelihoods and the environment. Hanboonsong, Y. (2010). Edible insects and associated food habits in Thailand. Paper presented at the Workshop on Asia- Pacific resources and their potential for development, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Johnson, D. V. (2010). The contribution of edible forest insects to human nutrition and to forest management. In P. B. Durst, D. V. Johnson, R. N. Leslie & K. Shono (Eds.), Forest insects as food: humans bite back (pp. 5-22). Bangkok: FAO. Lukiwati, D. R. (2010). Teak caterpillars and other edible insects in Java. In P. B. Durst, D. V. Johnson, R. N. Leslie & K. Shono (Eds.), Forest insects as food: humans bite back (pp. 99-103). Bangkok: FAO. Raubenheimer, D., & Rothman, J. M. (2013). Nutritional ecology of entomophagy in humans and other primates. Annual review of entomology, 58, 141-160. Schabel, H. G. (2010). Forest insects as food: a global review. In P. B. Durst, D. V. Johnson, R. N. Leslie & K. Shono (Eds.), Forest insects as food: humans bite back (pp. 37-64). Bangkok: FAO. van Huis, A. (2013). Potential of insects as food and feed in assuring food security. Annual review of entomology, 58, 563-583. van Huis, A., van Itterbeek, J., Klunder, H., Mertens, E., Halloran, A., Muir, G., & Vantomme, P. (2013). Edible insects: Future prospects for food and feed security. Rome: FAO. Vantomme, P. (2013). The Contribution of Insects to Food Security, Livelihooods and the Environment. In FAO (Ed.). Yhoung-aree, J. (2010). Edible insects in Thailand: nutritional values and health concerns. Paper presented at the Workshop on Asia-Pacific resources and their potential for development.

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