FabAfriq Magazine

Food Security: A Weird But Productive Way to Get Proteins

Entomophagy !! Have you ever heard of this word before! Scientifically, Entomophagy: /ˌɛntəˈmɒfədʒi/, from Greek ἔντομον éntomon, "insect", and φᾰγεῖν phagein, "to eat", is the consumption of insects as food. Human beings have been eating insect for ages, and many cultures in the world still do, though in the modern society it might appear strange and weird.

In Africa, eating insects is very important. This is due to the nutrients contained in them.  In South Africa, the importance of eating insects has called for awareness on population and the development of insects harvesting systems. New recipes have also been developed. For example, macaroni and grasshoppers, or termites in a little bit of oil and pepper.   In Cameroon, the habit of eating insects in rural areas is gradually getting into towns and cities. Insects are sold in the streets in the form of “brochette” with much pepper and onions.


In the 21st century, eating insects has become a relevant topic in the issue of food security. The rising cost of animal protein is one of the major factors in food insecurity. Also, there is population growth and increasing demand for proteins among the middle classes. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations released in 2013 a publication titled “Future prospects for food and feed security", describing the contribution of insects to food security. It shows the many traditional and potential new uses of insects for direct human consumption and the opportunities for and constraints to farming them for food and feed. It examines the body of research on issues such as insect nutrition and food safety, the use of insects as animal feed, processing and preservation of insects and their products.

There are many types and species of edible insects. The common edible insects in Africa are grasshoppers, palm grubs, caterpillars (mopane worms) and termites. The nutritional value of proteins in these insects is higher than that contained in fish or meat. Insects contain a high amount of crude protein, especially when they are dried. For instance, one hundred grams of caterpillar provides up to 76% of proteins.
 The consumption of insects might not be a good idea to everyone , but they could be a valuable asset to global food security as their nutritive value remain a fact. Plus they’re sustainable, green, and nutritious and could help people reduce malnutrition.

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