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Insight & Analysis - February 17, 2022

Why Insect Farming may be the Next Big Deal

As a result of the gaining interest, the insect market is projected to be worth $8 billion, which is +24% CAGR  by 2030. 

With the ever-increasing global population and a projection of 10 billion by 2050, coupled with the global food shortage and the need to expand food availability to approximately 70%, other protein sources are currently garnering people’s attention. Although insect farming is just in the debut stage and its market, small, this may soon be flooded with small businesses, thus changing the landscape and acting as catalysts for change in the food sector.

As a result of the gaining interest, the insect market is projected to be worth $8 billion, which is +24% CAGR  by 2030. According to Barclays report, around two billion individuals in about 130 countries already eat insects as a source of protein daily. In some countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, it is regarded as a traditional delicacy.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) since 2003 has been canvassing for consumable insects because of their nutritional benefits and sustainability. This is because insect farming takes up minimal land, producing fewer greenhouse emissions than traditional agriculture.

It serves as an economic equilibrium

Keiran Whitaker, the founder of Entocycle, said, “Nature has spent 150 million years perfecting how to feed animals, and it’s called insects”. As we are higher animals, insects are now part of the food chain.

According to the world bank, in Sub-Saharan Africa, there is an upsurge of food insecurity, with one in every five individuals suffering from malnutrition due to the imbalance between population and available food. This is, however, the worst in African nations impacted by fragility, conflict, and violence, with 29% lacking adequate food.

With the attention given to it by the World Bank and United Nations, insect farming is seen as the future and the key to addressing food insecurity in Africa and other continents. Dorte Verner, World Bank Lead Agriculture Economist and lead author of this report, said, “The world needs a food production system that can feed everyone, everywhere, every day with nutritious food while providing economic benefits and protecting the environment, including in countries with few resources. A circular food economy and insect and hydroponic farming can deliver on this promise”.

Although China has the largest insect market globally, more than 850 insect farms that generate food and feed also currently exist in Africa. Insect farming in Africa using agricultural waste as feed may provide $2.6 billion in crude protein and $19.4 billion in biofertilisers per year. That’s enough protein meal to supply up to 14% of the natural protein requirements for all of Africa’s pigs, goats, fish, and poultry.

The key to unemployment and poverty elevation in Africa

Juergen Voegele, vice president for sustainable development at the World Bank Group, said, “As the report shows, insect and hydroponic farming can create jobs, diversify livelihoods, improve nutrition and provide many other benefits in African and fragile, conflict-affected countries”. According to a Barclays report, farmed fish are expected to produce 65% of world fish supply in 2030, opening even more prospects for insect farming jobs to produce more feeds.

In less than ten years, insect farming has risen significantly in East Africa because of the capacity to breed insects at low cost and use readily available organic waste. Several insect businesses are coming up in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Over 95% of these farms are microenterprises, potentially evolving into more automated systems as the demand for edible insects expands in the region.

 

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