Special Reports

FAO: Forest Products Critical To Fight Hunger – Including Insects

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sickness http://cerlalc.org/wp-content/plugins/the-events-calendar/src/deprecated/tribeical.php geneva;”>FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva noted that forests, pilule http://cstaab.com/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-upgrader-skins.php trees on farms and agro-forestry are critical in the fight against hunger and should be better integrated into food security and land use policies.

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He said this on Monday at the International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition in Rome.

“Forests contribute to the livelihoods of more than a billion people, including many of the world’s neediest. Forests provide food, fuel for cooking, fodder for animals and income to buy food,” said Graziano da Silva.

He added: “Wild animals and insects are often the main protein source for people in forest areas, while leaves, seeds, mushrooms, honey and fruits provide minerals and vitamins, thus ensuring a nutritious diet.”

“But forests and agro forestry systems are rarely considered in food security and land use policies. Often, rural people do not have secure access rights to forests and trees, putting their food security in danger. The important contributions forests can make to the food security and nutrition of rural people should be better recognized,” Graziano da Silva said.

According to this new study by FAO launched at the forests for food security and nutrition conference, one major and readily available source of nutritious and protein-rich food that comes from forests are insects.


“It is estimated that insects form part of the traditional diets of at least 2 billion people. Insect gathering and farming can offer employment and cash income, for now mostly at the household level but also potentially in industrial operations,” indicates the report.

“With about 1 million known species, insects account for more than half of all living organisms classified so far on the planet.”

According to FAO’s research, done in partnership with Wageningen University in the Netherlands, more than 1900 insect species are consumed by humans worldwide. Globally, the most consumed insects are: beetles (31 percent); caterpillars (18 percent); bees, wasps and ants (14 percent); and grasshoppers, locusts and crickets (13 percent).


This research also indicates that many insects are rich in protein and good fats and high in calcium, iron and zinc. Beef has an iron content of 6 mg per 100 g of dry weight, while the iron content of locusts varies between 8 and 20 mg per 100 g of dry weight, depending on the species and the kind of food they themselves consume.


However, Eva Muller, Director of FAO’s Forest Economic Policy and Products Division, clarified that the research does not say that people should be eating bugs.


“We are saying that insects are just one resource provided by forests, and insects are pretty much untapped for their potential for food, and especially for feed,” she explained.


Eva Muller co-authored “Edible insects: Future prospects for food and feed security”.



The research also reveals that insects produce a fraction of emissions such as methane, ammonia, climate-warming greenhouse gases and manure, all of which contaminate the environment. In fact, insects can be used to break down waste, assisting in the composting processes that deliver nutrients back to the soil while also diminishing foul odours.

Paul Vantomme, one of the authors of the report revealed: “The private sector is ready to invest in insect farming. We have huge opportunities before us.”


“But until there is clarity in the legal sphere, no major business is going to take the risk to invest funds when the laws remains unclear or actually hinders development of this new sector,” he explained.

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