Kenya ventures into lucrative edible insects market with publication of national standards

KENYA – Kenya has established the world’s first national standards regulating the production, handling and processing of insects for food and feed.

The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has approved the regulations which were published in the Kenya Gazette.

According to reports by Capital fm, the standards provides the requirements guiding the farmers on the rearing of insects including the conditions that will ensure the safety of the harvested produce.

It also provides the necessary minimum infrastructural and environmental requirements necessary for optimal production of edible insects.

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In addition, it stipulates the requirements of processed edible insects’ products packaged and presented either as whole or ground form and also for products such as biscuits or cookies where edible insects are used as ingredients.

“These standards, being the first to be published as National Standards in the world, are expected to support the ongoing innovation especially in the manufacturing while giving competitive advantage to Kenya’s products as the global demand for edible insects grows,” says Lt Col (Rtd.) Bernard Njiraini, Managing Director, KEBS.

The global edible insects market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.7% during the forecast period, 2020-2027 reaching US$850m by end of 2027.

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The guidelines come as pressure on traditional sources of macro nourishment such as proteins, carbohydrates and fats have led to intensified demand for alternative viable food options to sustain optimal nutritional status to populations locally and globally

“One of the most unexploited areas which can provide excellent alternative sources of protein is the edible insects sector because it has a space usage advantage over traditional animal rearing while producing high quality protein products,” he adds.

It is expected that the new standards will promote dietary diversification with a view of reducing pressure on common foods while introducing exciting options to the local diet and menu in line with the Big 4 Agenda.

According to CMI, the global edible insects market was estimated to account for US$ 500m in 2019 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.7% during the forecast period, 2020-2027 reaching US$850m by end of 2027.

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The development of the standards in Kenya was greatly contributed by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) who providing technical expertise through the Ento-Economy project funded by LEAP-AGRI consortium.

The project is led by Dr. John Kinyuru, who is the Principal Investigator and Director of Research at JKUAT.  He was assisted by Dr. Robert Mbeche (Co-Principal Investigator), a lecturer in the Department of Agriculture, Resources and Economics.

Dr. Kinyuru said these new standards are an important milestone in supporting individuals and industry players interested in edible insects.

He lauded Kenya for being the first country in Africa to achieve this fete saying, the bar has been set for benchmarking by other African countries.

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