FAO releases a comprehensive guide to sustainable cricket
in edible insects has been rising in recent years and that has driven a
traditional, but local, industry in Southeast Asia to expand to meet increasing
To ensure the
rapidly increasing supply can adequately respond to international food safety
concerns (and ensure sustainable practices), the Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with
Thailand’s Khon Kaen University, has today
published Guidance on sustainable cricket
farming, a new comprehensive manual on rearing crickets. The
publication aims to address knowledge gaps among cricket farmers and government
agencies mandated for ensuring food safety and hygiene.
During the launch
event, the lead authors Yupa Hanboonsong (Professor, Khon Kaen University) and Patrick Durst (former Senior
Forestry Officer in FAO) explained how the manual could guide new start-up
cricket farmers entering the business and could help them avoid errors.
“As a product,
crickets are quite new for several consumers and to make these edible insects
better acceptable, we need to ensure that they come from clean and safe
sources. The cricket manual will help farmers in this,” said Lallalit
Sukontarattanasook, a veterinarian and founder of a cricket farm in Thailand.
Setting the cricket standard
farming has developed rapidly, it has done so largely independently from
government and institutional research support. The publication offers practical
management tips to those already farming and presents a systematic framework to
help inspectors monitor farming practices and ensure food safety and
In Thailand, there
were some 20 000 active cricket farmers in 2013, but most learned their farming
practices through trial and error, with little science-based research or best
practices to guide them.
“The guide will go
a considerable way preventing new cricket farmers making avoidable mistakes in
farm management while also safeguarding health and safety for end consumers,”
said Thomas Hofer, Senior Forestry Officer in the FAO Regional Office for Asia
and the Pacific. “The guidance provided in this manual will help open up
cricket rearing as an increasingly viable option for farmers around the world
while setting standards for the practice, which requires less time, land and
water than conventional livestock and generates a lighter environmental
footprint,” he added.
Nutritious and sustainable source of food
nutritious and their farming is sustainable for the environment. It’s a win-win
situation for the consumer and the planet,” said Sridhar Dharmapuri, Senior
Food Safety and Nutrition Officer in the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the
Pacific. He noted the publication would help insect farmers and food safety
inspectors to bridge knowledge gaps and provide a structure for effectively
engaging with the industry, benefiting all stakeholders, including farmers,
consumers, extension agents, academics, researchers, and students.
“The prospects of
insect farming to contribute to diverse, healthy diets are huge, but guidance
like this manual is essential to ensure rigour and safety,” said Sven Walter,
FAO Leader of the Forest Products & Statistics Team, which published Edible insects: future prospects for food and feed in 2013.
publications in relation to edible insects have received considerable media
coverage in recent years, including “Six-legged
livestock: edible insect farming, collection and marketing in Thailand” and “Edible insects:
future prospects for food and Feed.” The publications proposed that
edible insects could contribute, in some way, to meeting the food, nutrition
and feed needs of a growing world population.
“With the growing
demand for meat and declining availability of agricultural land and water
resources, there is an urgent need to find alternative protein sources,” said
Katinka de Balogh, Senior Animal Production and Health Officer at the FAO
regional office for Asia and the Pacific.