African Food Revolution attends the First African Food Conference on edible insects in Zimbabwe


Posted on 6 September 2019 by Makhosi Mahlangu


ARTICLE BY SISA SIHWA EDITOR OF THE AFR

Consumption of edible insects has been practiced largely since time immemorial in Africa and in many different parts of the world, although in recent centuries it has decreased vastly and it is now widely shunned and looked down upon by today’s generation with disgust and is heavily associated with primitive practices, this is due to the advent and growing popularity of fast foods.

Mopane worms

Mopane worms 

The most popular and widely consumed edible insects in Zimbabwe are the Mopane worms (amacimbi), which are collected from trees in the bush with the most common being the mopane (colophosphermum mopane),this is where the name was derived from. The flying termites (inhlwa) and the stinking bug known as a cricket (umtshiphela), which many enjoy as a fried delicacy in some parts of Zimbabwe.

 Packaged mopane worms

These edible insects are regarded as being more than just pastime food sources, seeing that they are a high source of protein and healthy fats to their consumers as they can be also used to develop villages and communities by playing a pivotal role in the reduction of poverty and also greatly reducing the alarming number of malnutrition cases amongst both children and adults in the rural areas as rural livelihood development experts suggest.

Insects from the DRC

African Food Revolution (AFR) is an organisation that is aimed at the revival and championing of the consumption and production of Traditional African Foods (TAFs) inclusive of edible insect consumption.

The pioneers of traditional African foods

Makhosi Mahlangu, one of the founders of AFR and food scientist highlighted that their organisation is mainly focused on developing villages through for one, reintroducing and promotion of the consumption of numerous edible insects at a larger scale.

   African Food Revolution

“We as Africa Food Revolution are mainly interested in developing the ‘village’ into a self-sustainable food production unit’’, he said.

“The main goal is to amplify production units in villages and to create sustainable edible insect value chains that will help alleviate hunger and improve food security in villages using scientific acumen.”

Makhosi Mahlangu speaking on the role of insects in waste management

“This will involve educating and ultimately bringing awareness as to how the village community members can fully utilize their natural resources to improve food security. To drive this point straight home would be to improve the mopane worm value chain by embracing and merging scientific and technological knowledge systems with indigenous knowledge systems so as to steer closer towards the goal of ensuring food security in the future African village, said Mahlangu.

 The Insect Experience from Cape Town 

Recently Zimbabwe hosted the first African Conference on Edible Insects aimed at consolidating innovations, researches and industrial development strategies on edible insects for the transformation of livelihoods in Africa.

    Professor Arnold van Huis giving a global perspective of insects as food and feed

The conference was graced by scientists from various countries, academics, students, investors, policymakers, communities and all interested parties on edible insect research and development, consumption and industrial utilization.  The conference was attended by academically sound individuals such as Professor Linley Chiwona Karltun, Professor Arnold van Huis, Professor D.J Simbi, Dorte Verner, Professor Robert Musundire and Professor Jeff Tomberlin to name but a few highly versed scientists with profound knowledge in entomology.

One of the highlights of the conference was the potency of producing edible insects for food and animal feed as a source of sustainable new protein. The conference was well organised by AgriFose2030, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Chinhoyi University of Technology.

Chinhoyi University one of the organisers of the event