Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Use of insects in animal feed seen as favorable by farmers, sector and consumers

15 April 2015. Ghent University. The attitudes towards the use of insects in animal feed and resulting livestock products are generally favorable, so has recent scientific research shown. The use of insects in animal feed is one potential solution to improve the sustainability of animal diets and maintain legitimacy for livestock production within society.

The idea of using insects in animal feed was rejected by only 17% of a sample of 415 farmers, agriculture sector stakeholders and consumers from Flanders, Belgium. Resulting livestock products were perceived to be more sustainable, nutritious and healthy, but at risk of presence of off-flavors and allergens, and less easily marketable, according to a study published inAnimal Feed Science and Technology.
"The insights from this study confirm that the policy debate should focus primarily on the use insects in feed for fish, poultry, and pigs, whereas lower interest and acceptance of milk, dairy products and beef from insect-fed cattle among farmers, stakeholders and consumers indicate that the use of insects in feed for cattle is not currently an issue," according to the study authors.
The study
  • The use of insects in animal feed is one potential solution to improve the sustainability of animal diets and maintain legitimacy for livestock production within society.
  • A research team from Ghent University's Faculty of Bioscience Engineering interviewed 196 farmers, 137 agriculture sector stakeholders and 82 citizen/consumers about their attitudes, product attribute beliefs, perceived benefits, risks and concerns, and willingness-to-accept and use insect-based animal feed and the resulting livestock products.
  • The study was performed in January 2015 in Flanders, the northern Dutch-speaking region of Belgium with a highly specialized intensive livestock farming industry.
Journal Reference:
Wim Verbeke, Thomas Spranghers, Patrick De Clercq, Stefaan De Smet, Benedikt Sas, Mia Eeckhout. Insects in animal feed: acceptance and its determinants among farmers, agriculture sector stakeholders and citizens. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 2015

22/05/2013. Australian Research into the feasibility of feeding insects to poultry has shown that a number of insect taxa including silkworms, locusts, fly larvae, crickets and grasshoppers can be safely fed to chickens without compromising the quality and palatability of the meat. The technique of feeding insects to poultry will be beneficial in developing agriculture based recycling systems, reducing waste and potentially aid in reducing environmental pollution. Depending on the insect species and whether the diet of insects is fed to meat producing or egg laying birds it will likely need to be supplemented with either or both calcium and limiting amino acids to meet the chicken’s dietary requirement.

18/6/2012. Wageningen University in The Netherlands early June 2012 conducted a workshop on the use of insects as feed ingredient. Main purpose of this meeting was to identify opportunities and obstacles to the widespread use of insects as a sustainable feed ingredient. Approximately 50 participants, including insect breeders, feed companies, waste processors, risk assessors, researchers and others discussed the subject. Gert van Duinkerken, chairman and head of the Animal Nutrition of Wageningen UR Livestock Research department, conducted a ‘final measurement’ at the end of the meeting. This showed that the participants almost unanimously believe that it is feasible to use insects on a large scale as a feed ingredient. Opinions varied about the time that this may become reality: already within 5 years or longer.

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