A creepy-crawly food revolution

Long considered pests, insects are now on the menu for farmed fish and poultry in Kenya and Uganda, where scientists are looking for cheaper, healthier ways to boost animal growth and develop the local economy.

Raising chickens or fish in Africa can be an expensive proposition. Most of the money goes into just keeping them fed, which accounts for 60 to 70 per cent of the cost of rearing the animals.

“Around here the high cost can discourage farmers from using high-quality feeds,” says Komi Fiaboe, an agricultural entomologist at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Nairobi, Kenya.

The feed’s most expensive component is protein, which usually comes from imported soybeans or a combination of imported and locally sourced fishmeal, and the cost of the latter has doubled in the past couple of years. So researchers in Uganda and Kenya are investigating a cheaper, local alternative that could reduce the price of feed while providing economic opportunities in the region: insects. Read more in Canadian Geographic.