Globally, issues surrounding population growth, urbanization, climate change, diminishing land and water resources, over- and under nutrition, and persitent poverty, have created uncertainties and pressures on current food and economic systems.
Against this background, the use of insects as alternative sources of food for human consumption and feed for livestock, has captured the imagination of the global research and donor community, as well as the general public. 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.
In late 2013, icipe began to consider ‘insects for food and feed’ as a new strategic research opportunity. In 2014, the Centre made significant progress in this area, by conducting background research, preparing proposals and establishing linkages with a broad range of national and international stakeholders including donors, research institutions, public and private institutions. The Centre compiled an inventory titled African Edible Insects for Food and Feed: Inventory, Diversity, Commonalities and Contribution to Food Security, which was published in the new Journal of Insects for Food and Feed.
icipe also established the Insect for Food, Feed and Other Uses Programme (INSEFF), as the platform for consolidating and strengthening its activities in this area. Under the INSEFF umbrella, the Centre has commenced three research projects: GREEiNSECT, INSFEED and ILIPA.