Valuing and Integrating Edible Insects into Humanitarian Food Security Response: The case studies of grasshoppers production by women refugees in Uganda and Desert Locusts production in Niger

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Abstract

Wild-harvesting edible insects represents an alternative source of food and income generation with the potential to support food availability and access using less inputs, e.g. land, water. Interseasonal gaps represent challenges to its sustainability. These gaps can be filled by insect rearing (farming), which has its own limitations, e.g. financial investment, skills transfer, consumer behaviour change. This paper assesses livelihoods based on edible insects harvesting in Niger and Uganda, where 40 and 49 respondents were respectively interviewed. Existing wild-harvesting, processing and distribution mechanisms these were investigated. In Niger, governmental and intergovernmental main focus remains on desert locust as a stressor factor, deploying a range of coping mechanisms for their surveillance and control. Wild-harvesting desert locust is a direct and/or indirect mechanism of food production and development of sustainable livelihoods. Challenges are linked to unequal commitment of all actors involved (producers, distributors, consumers). In Uganda, seasonal swarms of grasshoppers are considered a delicacy by consumers and producers, and lucrative source of income generation. Despite community adherence to entomophagy, challenges remain as the production chain is misrepresented and unacknowledged by markets and government as a natural asset potentially contributing to the development of sustainable livelihoods. Wild-harvested edible insect are an alternative food source, income generation solution, and a potential tool in building resilient food systems, mitigating malnutrition and related diseases in communities that are food insecure or at risk of acute food insecurity. Further research needs to investigate market opportunities and solutions to acknowledge this emerging sector.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Agricultural Sustainability
Publication statusSubmitted - 26 Jul 2016

Keywords

  • edible insects
  • grasshoppers
  • locusts
  • food security
  • sustainable livelihoods

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