African edible insects as human food – a comprehensive review
In Africa, food insecurity seems to be a continual problem as a result of various factors such as extreme poverty, water scarcity, land degradation, and climate change. As a result, chronic hunger and malnutrition are still prevalent in many African countries. Consequently, the utilization of available and affordable natural food sources is needed to accommodate the energy and nutritional requirements of the people, such as edible insects. Edible insects are abundant and locally available throughout Africa, hence could be utilized as low-cost, nutritious, and sustainable foods. Around 500 species have been recorded in sub-Saharan Africa out of the 2,100 known edible insect species worldwide. The consumption of insects, also known as entomophagy, has been historically practiced by indigenous people of Africa. To date, edible insects are seen in Africa as a good opportunity, particularly for rural households, to improve their livelihoods at an economic and nutritional level. Edible insects are a great source of energy and nutrients - and their rearing only requires a small amount of water, land and feeding resources. Entomophagy may also serve as an ecologically sound control measure for insect pests, such as locusts, that periodically wreak havoc on agricultural fields. The combination of being a highly nutritious food source and having economic advantages made edible insects very attractive in all the African regions. Their promotions into the diet would ameliorate the well-being of the population and boost economic growth in Africa. However, African countries need local and regional legal frameworks to achieve smooth functioning of marketing of edible insects and their products.