Hunger-stricken Africans encouraged to eat bugs — Analysis

UK Aid projects in Zimbabwe and the DRC encourage rural residents to grow more insects.

UK-funded aid projects in Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other African countries are helping the hungry to eat more nutritious bugs.

According to The Guardian, agencies currently spend as high as $57,000 in DRC and as high as $346,000 Zimbabwe to test insect diets in order to introduce them to their local populations.

The DRC is currently exploring how to eat black soldier flies, migratory locusts, and African caterpillars. It’s noted that there are some 23 species of insects, including termites and crickets, that are already consumed in the South Kivu region. The locals eat them as a plight and collect them according to the season. 

UK charity The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (UK-based) is encouraging the Congolese people to grow bugs industrially in an attempt to eradicate the poverty in the region.

Another aid agency in Zimbabwe is investigating ways of using mopaneworms in porridges that are served to children in schools. According to The Guardian, these caterpillars that turn into emperor moths are commonly harvested from plants during the rainy season.

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This project will create a bug-laced meal to help poor children in Gwanda, Zimbabwe’s southernmost town. This dish, which will include locally grown mopaneworms, cereals, and fruits, is said to contain all essential vitamins and minerals, including phosphorous, potassium, iron and copper as well as vitamins A1 and B2.

Dr. Alberto Fiore, a professor of food chemistry and technology who leads the project in Zimbabwe, told The Guardian that introducing the bug-based meal is only the first stage of the project, which will also conduct randomized trials to see if the dish will have an effect on children’s performance in school and benefit their health.

These two projects are part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), which forms part the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. 

The Guardian was informed by a spokesperson for UKRI that they hope to fund such projects. “benefit citizens around the world irrespective of their economic status,”They also noted the ecological benefits associated with eating insects.

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