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Tropentag, September 14 - 16, 2022, Prague

"Can agroecological farming feed the world? Farmers' and academia's views."

Cricket protein products to boost health, education and social outcomes in Kenya – delivering sustainable protein

Winnie Nyakerario Akara

University of Hohenheim, Inst. of Phytomedicine, Dept. of Entomology, Germany


In many parts of Africa, the use of insects as food is an ancient tradition that is largely practised as a refuge during times of food insecurity, especially in drought stricken areas where access to food is already a burden. In Kenya alone, it is estimated that up to 35% of the inhabitants suffer from food insecurity and malnutrition yearly. Many of them being children and young adults leading to high statistical levels of stunting and wasting amongst other developmental issues faced by underserved communities. The current food system is therefore calling for healthy sustainable diets that would help dim such longlasting effects of hidden hunger and malnutrition in the African context.
Since our proposed solution builds upon a tried, tasted and tested indigenous food that is bountiful during climate change disruptions such as heavy rains and flooding. We propose to integrate a sustainable cricket protein powder product with existing ecosystems within communities suffering through strong bouts of malnutrition and hidden hunger. Our primary aim is to serve a real, tangible and urgent human need. Our vision was therefore, to boost health, education and social outcomes in Kenya with a sustainable protein solution for local malnutrition problems. We aim to be a social venture with a dual purpose of providing sustainable protein solutions to underserved communities, as well as communities ruled by choice and affluence, and by doing so creating an effective revenue model and economic recycling between the two.
Through this model, we found that the product which can be sourced from locally existing suppliers, and the time to market necessary to develop the product was extremely short, thanks to the fact we met a real necessity, giving a simple and highly-acceptable solution. Market research further went on to indicate that our potential customers/market segments could also be stretched to include: middle-class individuals, nutritionally conscious consumers, healthy lifestyle consumers as well as business/industrial clients. The incorporation of insect protein products into everyday diets of many Kenyans is therefore not farfetched, and further sensitisation should be carried out to properly demistify the use of insects as food.

Keywords: Food insecurity, hidden hunger, insect protein, Kenya, malnutrition, underserved communities

Contact Address: Winnie Nyakerario Akara, University of Hohenheim, Inst. of Phytomedicine, Dept. of Entomology, Buowaldstrasse 65A, 70619 Stuttgart, Germany, e-mail: winnieakara@gmail.com

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