A three-year project dubbed B(eat) the locust that seeks to introduce invasive desert locusts as a food and feed source for pastoralist communities has commenced in Isiolo, Marsabit, Laikipia, and Samburu counties.
The program seeks to create over 1,000 youth entrepreneurs in the locust value chain and 400 job opportunities for specialised locust collectors.
According to Catholic Organization for Relief and Development Aid (Cordaid) Country Manager Merciline Oyier, the program will help initiate an insect value chain in Kenya that will harness locusts for human consumption and in the making of livestock feed.
Related News: Dreaded desert locusts tame heart diseases- Scientists
“This program will also cut back on the use of pesticides whose residue will adversely impact the environment in the near future,” he added.
The project is being implemented by three partners: Catholic Organization for Relief and Development Aid (Cordaid). The International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) will train community members and the project’s participants on desert locusts and overall locust rearing. Indigenous Movement for Peace Advancement and Conflict Transformation (IMPACT), will sensitise and mobilise the pastoralist communities while also lobbying and advocating for them.
According to community members, while the project may face resistance in convincing community members to incorporate insects into their diet, they are eager to use locusts and locust-derived feeds in their animal diets.
In 2020, according to the World Bank. Kenya faced its worst desert locust invasion in seven decades which largely affected the country’s northern region. The multi-year locust plague has left over three million people in the region classed as food insecure.