Importance of Insects as Food in Africa

  • Arnold van HuisEmail author


In Africa, about 470 insect species are recorded as edible, of which caterpillars are most consumed followed by grasshoppers, beetles, and termites. Most of those are collected from nature. There are several insect species, such as locusts and grasshoppers, that are pests of crops but which can be eaten at the same time. There are some edible insect species which are harvested in large number contributing to food security. Three of those species are discussed: the mopane caterpillar, the African bush cricket, and the shea caterpillar. However, when we would like to promote insects as food then harvesting from nature is not an option anymore, as overexploitation already occurs. Then we need to rear the insects. That can be done in semi-domesticated systems such as for the palm weevil or by farming insects as mini-livestock such as for crickets. We discuss the nutritional value of edible insects, and how they can contribute to food security. We also give examples of how insects can be processed and marketed. We conclude with the prospects of how edible insects can assure food security and improve the livelihood of the African people.


Sub-Saharan Africa Edible insects Insects as food Nutrition Food security Harvesting insects Farming insects 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of EntomologyWageningen University & ResearchWageningenThe Netherlands

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