Eating Insects in Africa

According to Dana Goodyear writing The New Yorker (15&22 August 2011):

On a trip to Africa in 1995, when Arnold van Huis (an entomologist who is working to establish a market for insect-based products in the Netherlands) was on sabbatical, he travelled to a dozen countries, interviewing locals about their relationship with insects.  Half the people he spoke with talked about eating them, and he finally overcame their reluctance–born of centuries of colonial opprobrium–to share some with him.  “I had termites, which were roasted, and they were excellent,” he said. . . .

Ugandan Eating Grasshoppers

. . . [Florence] Dunkel (an entomologist at Montana State University) talked about her frustration working in West Africa, where for decades European and American entomologists, through programs like USAID and British Locust Control have killed grasshoppers and locusts, which are complete proteins, in order to preserve the incomplete proteins in millet, wheat, barley, sorghum, and maize.  Her field work in Mali focusses on the role of grasshoppers in the diets of children, who for cultural reasons, do not eat chicken or eggs.  Grasshoppers contain essential amino acids and serve as a crucial buffer against kwashiorkor, a protein deficiency that impedes physical and neurological development.  In the village where Dunkel works, kwashiorkor is on the rise; in recent years, nearby fields have been planted with cotton, and pesticide use has intensified.  Mothers now warn their children not to collect the grasshoppers, which they rightly fear may be contaminated.

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One Response to Eating Insects in Africa

  1. .Dunkel has been an entomologist for 45 years but said she didn t.start eating insects or promoting their food value until much.later.She was in Rwanda in 1985 when she noticed children collecting.grasshoppers and selling them for food. After buying a bag for.herself she carried them back to her hotel and asked the French.chef there to prepare them for her. It was then I discovered fresh grasshoppers were really good .Dunkel said.

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