News / Africa

Insects Proven to be Critical in Fight Against World Hunger

A foreign laborer from Thailand displays a bunch of fried locusts before eating them at his house near Kmehin in Israel's Negev desert, March 5, 2013.
A foreign laborer from Thailand displays a bunch of fried locusts before eating them at his house near Kmehin in Israel's Negev desert, March 5, 2013.

Multimedia

Audio
Kim Lewis
A study highlighting the critical role insects play in fighting world hunger was launched in Rome on Monday May 13.  It’s part of a three day meeting called the International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition.

Researchers at the Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, authored the study.  They said that forest insects are a major and readily available source of nutritious and protein-rich food.

In addition, the researchers noted that insect gathering and farming can not only offer employment and income for families, but insect farming has the potential to become a major contributor to commercial agriculture.

Eva Müller, the director of the Forests Economics Policy Products Division of the FAO, said the study is the first of its kind:  it provides a comprehensive review of which insects are being eaten, how they are processed and their nutritional value. 

She said edible insects are important because “two billion people in the world, that is, one-third of the world’s population already eat edible insects.  They eat them because they are delicious, and they are nutritious:  insects contain high levels of protein, and also high levels of certain minerals and vitamins that are very important.  And they also have a much lower environmental footprint than, for example, conventional livestock.” 

Müller said some of the most consumed insects are beetles; grasshoppers; locusts; crickets, and ants.  She added that many of the insect species that are known to us are edible.    

“At the moment most of the insects in the world that are being eaten are gathered in the wild.  So eventually if the demand goes up, and let’s say if the western world all of a sudden discovered that everybody wanted to eat insects, then there may be a problem of over-harvesting.  This is why it is very important to develop technologies to mass produce insects and to farm them,” explained Müller. 

She also pointed out that insect farming has the same concept of any other type of farming. The insects are raised in controlled environments including those that raise insects on agricultural waste. 

“So in the end,” she said, “there are good possibilities of developing technologies that are cost effective, and at the same time, also safe.  In that sense I think farming of insects has a future.”  

Müller emphasized that insect farming is something that should definitely be developed especially in view of an increasing global population.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More