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Updated On: Saturday, November 18 2017

Hungry? Try A Grasshopper

Photo: UN Photo

Content by: South-South News

Would you eat a bug? For many people, especially in rich countries, the answer to this question is likely to be an emphatic and somewhat disgusted no. However, according to the FAO, eating insects could be a key element in confront global hunger issues.

Through a new program called "Edible Insects," the FAO is encouraging the use of insects as food in low income countries struggling to keep their populations fed. Noting that insects tend to be high in both protein and essential nutrients and vitamins, the organization believes that they could be key in feeding those in need.

"Domesticating and rearing insects can help sustain insect populations while also helping counter nutritional insecurity and improve livelihoods," says Afton Halloran, an FAO consultant.

"Although it is unrealistic to see families in the West eating insects for their Sunday lunch within the next decade, the potential of insects is huge and we hope that slowly but surely this potential will be realized."

Farming insects requires far less space and energy than farm animals, and therefore takes a much lighter ecological toll. Ms. Halloran notes that this practice is already taking root in some developing countries.

"We are already seeing producers creating animal feed from insects and research," she says. "And development is occurring around the world in order incorporate insects into menus and processed foods."

The reality on the ground seems to be bearing out Ms. Halloran's prognosis.

"Insects are good because, when we know longer have produce in our fields, they give us a means to live as we prepare the insects to eat," reports one Cameroonian villager. "And also, we can sell them. So, they really provide for us."

"I eat insects like this because they provide nutrition, they nourish the body, they are not too fatty but have lots of good ingredients," says another. "If you eat these all the time, you will rarely get sick."

Insects hold the potential to be transformative in how the world nourishes itself. This is already taking place in the developing world and, in time, could make its way to the west. Despite the potent "yuck" factor that comes along with them, bugs could be a much more important piece of the human diet in the not too distant future.


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