The role of edible insects in diets and nutrition in East Africa
This article by Springer describes the role of edible insects in diets and nutrition in East Africa. Insects have been used as food, medicine and in rituals by a number of communities in the East African region comprising of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania over centuries. Progressively, farmed edible insects mainly crickets and grasshoppers are gaining popularity within the region. However the utilization of the edible insects is hampered by lack of storage and preservation facilities in the rural areas leading to high postharvest losses. Sun drying and roasting have been the main processing methods applied for decades by communities consuming edible insects such as the Luo from Kenya. Recently there has been incorporation of insects as an ingredient in processing of baked products and complementary foods. Culture, taboos, customs and ethnic preferences have highly influenced the consumption of edible insects in East Africa. Edible insects such as grasshoppers, mayfly and termites that are consumed in this region have been shown to be source of both macro and micro nutrients and other components such as chitin which has been linked to improved health and better management of chronic diseases. Therefore edible insects promises to be a part of the solution to food and nutrition security within the East African region.
This article is a chapter in the book “Edible Insects in Sustainable Food Systems“. Other relevant articles related to edible insects and nutritin security are for example “Insects and human nutrition“, “Edible insects in a food safety perspective“, “Kenyan Consumers’ Experience of Using Edible Insects as Food and Their Preferences for Selected Insect-Based Food Products“.