Edible Insect Farming Project!
We are glad to announce our new partnership with Impact Designs, a Danish nonprofit dedicated to developing innovative business models for refugees in some of the world's poorest nations. They are currently working with the Danish Refugee Council, one of the world’s leading humanitarian agencies, to pilot production of mealworms among the refugees in Kyaka II settlement in Uganda. Click here to read their latest newsletter in which they announce this exciting new partnership!
In this partnership, Yiya will design training materials and guides for training community members in refugee settlements in Western Uganda on edible insect farming. We will also pilot the insect farming project in partner schools in Northern Uganda in our Term 2 engineering unit.
In the edible insect farming engineering unit, students will learn how to farm edible insects! Students will study the life cycle of Molitor beetles and then experiment with different designs for a freestanding beetle farm that supports the entire lifecycle of the beetles and allows for easy harvesting of their larva (mealworms!). Students will also learn how to build solar dryers to dry the mealworms for later consumption. Due to droughts, which have been made more severe and frequent by climate change, many families in Northern Uganda experience chronic food shortages, and children often suffer from malnutrition, which causes stunted growth and other health problems. Insects are rich in many nutrients and are great sources of protein!
Eating insects is not something alien to Uganda. Ugandans eat various types of insects like grasshoppers (which are called ‘nsenene’ in the local dialect) and white ants (nswa). In Western Uganda close to the DRC border, Ugandans there eat several types of mealworms.
For the past month, we’ve been conducting research to find out if we can source the molitor beetle from poultry and cattle farms in Uganda to save time and avoid the extensive paperwork involved in the cross border transfer of live animals (the mealworms are already farmed in Kenya, so they are close but would still need to be imported if we used a Kenyan supplier).
So far, we’ve been able to identify the lesser mealworm (Alphitobius diaperinus), which looks quite similar, but is a bit smaller and behaves differently. Local farmers have told us that during the rainy season, it will be easy to find the right species of the molitor beetle that we want. The rainy season typically starts in March, so we are ready!
See below some of the species of the molitor beetles we have found in Uganda and see here the right species of the molitor beetle from which mealworms come. Also below are some fun pics showing how Ugandans currently cook and serve the delicacy nsenene (grasshopper!).