Icky, invasive, slimy; insects are despised by most people and the natural reaction is to smack or step on them in order to mortalise them. However, the United Nations wants you to ‘spice’ them up.
In a book by its Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), bugs are being recommended as a source of nutrition. According to the UN, “insects currently supplement the diets of some two billion people” and it is hoped that many more people will have insects on their plates this morning and beyond.
In Edible Insects: future prospects for food and feed security; caterpillars, wasps, ants and crickets are said to be high in essential nutrients such as protein, fats and minerals.
“Insects are not harmful to eat, quite the contrary. They are nutritious, they have a lot of protein and are considered a delicacy in many countries,” according to Eva Muller, director of Forest Economics, Policy and Products Division at FAO.
The global food agency is also encouraging farmers around the world to take up insect farming. It believes the rearing and harvesting of insects will be a major response to projected food security challenges facing the world in the not so distant future.
This recommendation was taken up by Green Africa Youth Organization; an environmental group in Ghana. They have been working on a project that seeks to introduce Rhynchophorus spp (Palm weevil) as “ a cheap, readily available nutritious source of food for local impoverished communities.”
According to the group the feeding activity and entire life cycle of the immature stages (eggs, pupae and larvae) are harboured in the palm trunk. After about four months, the first lop of weevils will be ready for harvesting.
In 2030, there would be 9 billion of us and there may not be enough “normal” food to go round. As such, we would need to start teaching our digestive systems early about the new kinds of breakfasts, lunches and dinners we would be eating.
So, ditch that porridge; get into the bush, catch some wasps and fry them for breakfast.