Cockroach farming is a large-scale practise in China, despite its newness in the African market. In contrast to traditional animal husbandry, it is a lucrative business and starting a cockroach farm is inexpensive and takes minimal resources.
According to Barclays Investment Bank, although the insect market is still a niche, it may soon be flooded with small businesses changing the landscape and acting as catalysts for change in the food sector. As a result, the insect market is projected to be $8 billion by 2030, a 24% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).
Around 2 billion individuals in over 130 countries eat insects as a source of protein daily. Because of their nutritional benefits and sustainability, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has been canvassing edible insects since 2003.
The unstable percentage between the population and available food and the likelihood of Africa’s population reaching 2.53 billion by 2050 is worrisome. But Dorte Verner, a World Bank Lead Economist, said it is feasible to feed all people with nutrient-rich insects while reducing food and agriculture’s environmental effect. The food output per capita has been declining since 2014.
Here are some facts about cockroach farming you need to know
Cockroach farming market
Although cockroach farming is a new trend in the African market, it is gradually receiving acceptance from the government and scholars are exploring and revealing more about it. In Tanzania, Daniel Rwehura is pioneering the cockroach farming business and sells a kilo for about $6. He sells to poultry farms, fish farmers, researchers and insect consumers. To be in the market does not involve massive capital as it is a low-cost business that can be done anywhere.
China has the biggest cockroach market in the world. With the booming market, dried cockroaches as of 2013 were sold for $20 per pound. The world’s largest cockroach farm is located near Xichang, Sichuan, in southern China, where six billion cockroaches are produced annually. The organisation, which the Good Doctor Pharmaceutical Group runs, employs artificial intelligence tools to monitor the farm’s circumstances. This entails keeping them in dimly lit rooms with a temperature of roughly 30 degrees Celsius. The lack of government oversight has aided the industry’s expansion in China, with enterprises allowed to start in the most suited surroundings if they obtain a bug breeding license.
Likewise in Thailand, as of 2014, there were about 20,000 registered farms. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, these businesses have produced a multibillion-dollar sector, the majority of which are small-scale domestic operations. Thailand tops the globe in insect production, with an average yearly output of 7,500 tons in recent years.
While insects may still appear foreign, if not outright revolting, to many in the Western world, the FAO notes that they have long been a staple of human diets in about 100 nations, mainly in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, with over 1,600 species ingested.
Benefits of cockroach to humans
It is scientifically proven that milk is gotten from cockroaches, and the milk is more proteinous than a milkshake. The milk is made by a specific cockroach species called Diplotera. The Diplotera punctate breeds and feeds live cockroaches, producing protein crystals that are roach milk.
Researchers discovered that roach milk is highly nutritious and a rich source of protein, carbs, and fats. It is also considered a superfood, a complete food containing all nine essential amino acids. The milk also contains vitamins, omega three fatty acids, minerals, linoleic and oleic acids. This non-dairy product, which is just as effective as regular milk, might be the answer for lactose-intolerant people.
Cockroaches are rich in high protein content, necessary for general bodybuilding. It is also suitable for DNA rebuilding as for every 100 grams of roaches you consume, you are taking in 24 milligrams of vitamin B12. Insufficient amounts of vitamin B12 in the body can lead to heart disease, anaemia, and hair loss.
According to Chinese experts, Cockroach extracts can heal ulcers, skin wounds, and possibly stomach cancer. They also hinted at the current study using roach extracts in hair loss treatment products. The business in charge of producing these medications claims to have supplied them to over 4000 hospitals in China.
In China, cockroach-based remedies have long been in high demand. More than 40 million customers have utilised Gooddoctor’s most popular cockroach-based health product. Wen Jianguo of Gooddoctor said, “The essence of cockroach is beneficial for healing oral and peptic ulcers, skin wounds, and even stomach cancer”. For instance, crushed cockroaches, scientifically known as Periplaneta Americana, are included as components in various Chinese medicine and medical cosmetics.
Around 40 million Chinese utilise medications to treat gastrointestinal disorders and other diseases. Recently, scientists discovered that the ground-up brains of roaches might be highly useful in the battle against antibiotic-resistant infectious illnesses. The investigation is still ongoing, but this might be the start of a breakthrough.
Cockroaches, like other insects, serve an essential part in the ecosystem’s long-term viability. Birds and reptiles, such as lizards, consume them as food. However, their importance extends beyond serving as a link in the food chain.
While crawling around in search of food, they transfer pollen grains, which are essential in the pollination process. Also, they eat the leftover of other organisms, thus breaking them down to create nitrogen for the soil, which is necessary for tree and plant development.
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