BY ALEX BALUKU
A section of farmers under their company “Universal Insects Farming Limited” in Majengo, Nyamwamba Division of Kasese Municipality in the Western part of Uganda have turned to rearing crickets to tackle food scarcity and in the other way conserve the environment.
Isack Sinamakosa, an environmentalist and Chief Executive Officer for Universal Insects Farming Limited, says that the company was the only one rearing crickets for commercial purposes in Western Uganda. He adds that, the green project would also help them contribute towards environmental conservation.
Sinamakosa, who revealed plans of extending their trainings to the locals next year, revealed plans to secure an export license as they are now in multi-millions of crickets.
While asked how rearing of Crickets would contribute to environmental conservation, the environmentalist replied that “rearing crickets is considered to be environmental friendly in terms of waste and have a low production cost”.
Sinamakosa suggested that the current farming and food production practices are unsustainable, but that edible insects are a viable, untapped resource that could help meet the food and water demands of the world’s ever-expanding population. And it’s really no wonder: Insects are highly nutritious, and also far more environmentally friendly to rise than conventional livestock.
Compared with cows, pigs, or chickens, crickets require a fraction of the land, water, and food, and produce less greenhouse gases and ammonia. “Knowing this, multiple farms should be dedicated to rearing crickets for human consumption”, he added.
The world’s population is creeping up on 7.5 billion, but estimates suggest we’ll have a whopping 9 billion mouths to feed by 2050.
Unless we all stick to salads, the global production of meat will need to double in that time to feed our growing population, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (FAO).
Feed and crop production will also have to increase in kind to support livestock and our own appetites, inevitably taking up more land space and water, precious and dwindling commodities required for cattle.
But resources aren’t the only issue. This increase in agricultural production will exacerbate the effects of climate change by releasing more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere (agricultural activities currently contribute nearly one-tenth of the country’s greenhouse emissions). What’s more, animal waste releases ammonia, a pollutant that can affect soil and water quality.
How Sinamakosa came up with the idea of cricket rearing; he told rwenzoridaily.com that in 2015 he was recommended by Ideas for Us Uganda an environmental sustainability organization to attend an international conference on climate change in Germany, and during that conference a number of dynamics affecting the environment were discussed and recommendations were subsequently made.
He said that, one of the recommendations made during the tutorial learning, was for people to start venturing in green projects.
He said that shortly after the conference he got a German friend who with him discussed and agreed to start up a crickets rearing farm in Uganda.
To make flour from crickets they are suffocated in plastic bags or boiled in hot water then dried on the sun before grinding into powder or porridge flour. The powder is blended with wheat flour to make cookies, biscuits, chapati, mandazi, bread, waffles, muffins and cakes.
The porridge flour is popular with mothers who prefer it for their children as it contains minerals important for children growth and development.
Drying them in the sun increases their shelf life and makes them safe for human consumption free of bacterial and mold. Dried crickets can also be cooked to make them crunchy and ready for consumption.
Crickets can also be fed to poultry due to their rich nutritional value and supplement poultry feeds. Cricket feeds are fed to broilers for faster weight gain to maximize profits for poultry farmers.
Story to be continued!