By Gloria Irankunda
The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences(CAES) at Makerere University has launched an Insect-based Agribusiness for sustainable grasshopper and cricket production and processing food.
The launch happened on 29th March 2022 at the School of Food Technology, Nutrition, and BioEngineering Conference Hall at Makerere University.
The launch was under the theme “Edible Insects for Increased Food, Income and Nutrition Security in Kenya and Uganda”
It was aimed at encouraging food security in different communities through embracing feeding on insects that are rich in protein.
This initiative was under the Bio Innovative project Closure Meeting and launch of edible insects’ products and standards. It was headed by Dr. Dorothy Nakimbugwe, an Associate Professor in the Department of Food Technology and Nutrition at Makerere University.
Dr. Nakimbugwe said during the launch that It is an anomaly we need to address since 80% of the insect parts are edible and that they have a high feed conversion ratio.
Dr. Ivan Muzira Mukisa, the Head of the Department of Food and Technology at CAES said during the launch; “When we talk about food, we are looking at sustainability in the long run”
Dr. Muzira added that Dr. Nakimbugwe has worked with farmers to enhance food sustainability in the East African region.
Bio Innovative Africa, a program established in 2010 to finance multidisciplinary bioscience and product-oriented innovation activities in eastern African countries has registered key achievements such as cricket feeds developed with no human food ingredients and identifying entomopathogens and predators.
Other achievements include training cricket farmers in rearing and post-harvest handling, safety and development of nutritious insect foods, characterized and branded, post-harvest handling protocol development, and approving edible insects’ standards and specializations.
The project has also developed scientific processing protocols, given them to farmers in order to address unsafe processing challenges in the insect production sector.
Dr. Goretti Nabagona the Principal of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences applauded Makerere University and Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe for his unwavering support of the college.
” As a college, we don’t take it for granted, your being here affirms your support to the college” she added.
The insect Agribusiness project has yielded products from both crickets and grasshoppers bred from Makerere University at the College of Natural Sciences Insectary.
“It takes nurturing and leadership environment to achieve this” Dr. Muzira explained.
According to a recent study from the University of Copenhagen, insects are a source of protein much more so than meat.
The Food and Agriculture Organization said in a 2013 report that 20% of the world’s population eats insects.
Sustainable development goal (SDG 2) seeks to end hunger, achieve food security, and improve nutrition by 2030.