Insects like lake flies, termites, grass hoppers and crickets are traditionally collected and consumed in Kenya and Uganda and are highly nutritious. A 2011 market exploration in Kisumu, Kenya confirmed that > 80% of the population consume insects whenever they are in season and are interested in processed insects as ingredient for other products. Since 2010 a consortium of Dutch and Kenyan partners are supporting farmers in Kisumu to pilot the rearing of crickets for consumption. During 2012 SIDA allocated funding to carry the pilot further and analyze opportunities for commercialization. In the Masaka region of Uganda up to 250 local entrepreneurs collect, process and trade grasshoppers on large scale during two short periods per year, which is a lucrative business. Based on these experiences a multi-annual proposal for the development of inclusive value chains on crickets for consumption in Kenya and Uganda was formulated.
By mid-2013, the Flying Food consortium, led by TNO and including public as well as private partners from Kenya, Uganda and the Netherlands obtained funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for this innovative proposal. The consortium will realize a system innovation by completing seasonally collecting insects in the wild with year round rearing and supply of crickets. With a market-based approach at least 4000 small scale cricket farms will be established in Kenya and Uganda. The crickets will be dried for direct consumption or for further processing into flour to serve as an ingredient for new food products (like blend flour, cakes, samosa’s, meatballs, etc.).
Food design, the development of recipes, consumer testing and marketing campaigns are included in this project. The project will increase availability and accessibility of nutritious quality food at local markets to 1,000,000 people at the BoP and facilitate entrepreneurship and income generation through inclusive value chain development.