Various researchers around the world have investigated the possibility of using insect meal as a sustainable source of nutrition in livestock feed. Most recently, researchers in Ghana have said they believe using insect meal will be a feasible, safe and cost-effective source of protein for livestock. This option is an alternative to fish and soybean meal.
With a growing population in Ghana, the demand for meat is growing and this method of feeding may offer a cheaper way of feeding livestock for human consumption.
According to GhanaWeb, the project, “Insect Feed for West Africa,” was undertaken by the Animal Research Institute of Ghana (ARI), under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and with support from the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI)-Sterling University.
Insects make valuable option
Siegfried Affedzie-Obresi, poultry scientist at CSIR-ARI, explained in the article that a major reason for the study was to reduce the high cost of meat production. He further explained that with reducing fish stocks, even for human consumption, and lower production of soybeans due to lack of land and high cost of production, insects are a valuable option because they require far less resources.
While the idea of feeding insects to animals may seem odd to some, it isn’t strange in Ghana, as some individuals eat akokono (palm weevil larvae). Other insects are consumed and considered a delicacy.
Entomologists believe houseflies and black soldier flies will be the fastest and most economical to raise.
“However, the housefly larvae were not promoted very well because there is some kind of bad connotation around it, whereas the black soldier fly, the scientists say, is a very safe fly — does not feed, does not cause any disease — and in fact, even in the house, it does not sting,” GhanaWeb said.
Colonies of the flies were created to generate the larvae and then turn it into meal. Affedzie-Obresi said meat from animals fed larvae was better than meat from animals fed fish meal in terms of weight and cost. The cost of insect meal was comparable to that of soymeal, the report said.