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18th December 2020  Content supplied by: FAO

FAO Aims to Set Standards for Growing Insect Industry with New Guide to Cricket Farming


Entrepeneurs who are looking to start a cricket farming business have a new tool: a comprehensive guide called Guidance on Sustainable Cricket Farming. It's a practical manual for farmers and inspectors, published by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with Thailand’s Khon Kaen University.

The 84-page guide covers all there is to know about rearing crickets safely and effectively: good practices, development cycles, feeding, hygiene, waste and heat management. A whole section is dedicated to inspections and is directed at both farmers and local authorities.

The purpose of the guide goes beyond being just a list of how-to’s for future farmers: the ambition is to set quality and safety standards that can help edible insects to be accepted more rapidly by consumers: “As a product, crickets are quite new for several consumers and to make these edible insects more 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.

Although the manual is based on the authors' cricket farming experience in Thailand, it will be useful for farmers from any part of the world.

“The guide will go a considerable way in 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.

2021 will be an important year for the insect-based ingredients industry and for cricket farmers in particular, as the EU is expected to put an end to a long-standing regulatory grey zone by granting novel food status to seven insect species. Two of them will be crickets: the banded cricket (Gryllodes sigillatus) and the house cricket (Acheta domesticus), which are also approved for aquaculture feed.

When the novel food approval finally comes, cricket farmers will be able to market their insect-based ingredients to both the food and feed sectors.

This guide follows two other FAO's publications about edible insects, both of them freely downloadable: Six-legged livestock: edible insect farming, collection and marketing in Thailand, and Edible insects: future prospects for food and Feed.


    

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Date Published: 18th December 2020

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