Recommendations for insects for food and feed

Kisumu, Kenya, 2-3 March 2016 – An international conference has endorsed the use of insects as alternative sources of food for human consumption and as feed for livestock, globally and specifically in East Africa.

Worldwide, issues surrounding population growth, urbanisation, climate change, diminishing land and water resources, over- and undernutrition, and persistent poverty, have created uncertainties and pressures on current food and economic systems. Insects are increasingly being seen as part of a sustainable solution towards addressing these complexities. This is because insects are ubiquitous: they reproduce quickly, have high growth and feed conversion rates and low environmental impact. Insects are also valuable sources of minerals and vitamins essential for human development.

The Kisumu conference noted that to unlock the immense, yet largely untapped potential of insects, a range of issues that need to be addressed.


Dr Sunday Ekesi, head of the icipe Insects for Food and Feed programme presenting the conference recommendations to the participants.

In accordance, participants produced sets of recommendations for key stakeholders including the academia, governments, donors and the private sector as listed below.

Academia

Address knowledge gaps in the following areas:

  • Inventory of population dynamics of edible insects in their natural habitats, as well as their nutritional profiles.
  • Strategies for the conservation of the bio- and genetical diversity of wild edible insects.
  • Protection and incorporation of indigenous knowledge on the use of insects for food, feed and health care.
  • Understanding on disease risk and food and feed safety issues surrounding insects as food and feed, including proper processing, storage and packaging.
  • Consumer perceptions on insects as food and feed.
  • Comprehensive analysis of the value chain of insects gathered from the wild and those that are farmed.
  • Development of insect for food and feed mass rearing technology for small scale producers.
  • Incorporation of insects as a green agricuture, for instance their role in organic waste conversion
  • Development of an insect as food and feed curriculum

Enhance collaborative, multi- and inter-disciplinary research projects by various institutions.

Governments

  • Recognise the potential of insects as feed and food in national strategies and rural development programmes.
  • Incorporate the management and protection of wild edible insects, including their genetic diversity, in natural resources conservation policies and legislation.
  • Create an enabling policy and legislative environment for the use of insects as food and feed, with clear regulations governing the sector (for instance, through standard setting committees, good production practice manuals etc)
  • Promote discussions and information exchange and lead the introduction of the potential of insects as food and feed into policy debates.
  • Support research and knowledge exchange among national, regional and international partners.
  • Ensure that biodiversity and conservation strategies for farmed insects and appropriate legislation are in place for sustainable utilisation of insects as food and feed.

Donors

  • Increase funding opportunities for research and development in insects as food and feed, including to smallholder family businesses, and pro-poor initiatives in urban and rural areas.
  • Facilitate exchange of knowledge and best practices along the insect for food and feed value chain among stakeholders.
  • Initiate and contribute to global discussions on the potential of insects as food and feed towards improving global food security, more sustainable livestock production systems and improved nutritional diversity solutions to humankind in general.
  • Support stakeholders at all levels in developing national legislation and regulations to enabling safe production, trade and utilisation of insects as food and feed, and to support countries to apply to and make proposals on edible insects and their derived products to relevant international food/feed standard systems such as the Codex Alimentarius and for access to Novel Food regulated markets.
  • Provide and support opportunities for information exchange among stakeholders

Private sector

  • Contribute towards improving production technologies and automation process
  • Cross exchange of ideas between companies, academia and policymakers
  • Work jointly with relevant government authorities, small scale farmers and other relevant stakeholders to develop voluntarystandards for the production and use of insects as food and feed

Notes for Editors

The international conference on legislation and policy on the use of insects as food and feed was co-organised by the following:

Institutions -

  • Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
  • International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (www.icipe.org)  
  • Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST)
  • Makerere University, Uganda
  • University of Copenhagen
  • Wageningen University, The Netherlands

With financial support from the following donors -

  • Australian Government, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)
  • BMZ – German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development through GIZ
  • DANIDA
  • International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
  • Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research