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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Use crickets for better nutrition, urges varsity

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology Vice Chancellor Prof Mabel Imbuga, Kiambu County women representative Anna Nyokabi, JKUAT's DVC in charge of Research, Production and Extension Prof Esther Kahangi and researcher admire cricket products made at the institutions by researchers.
Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology Vice Chancellor Prof Mabel Imbuga, Kiambu County women representative Anna Nyokabi, JKUAT's DVC in charge of Research, Production and Extension Prof Esther Kahangi and researcher admire cricket products made at the institutions by researchers.

The Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology has urged Kenyans to embark on cricket farming to improve nutrition and food security.

Vice chancellor Mabel Imbuga said JKUAT researchers have studied the insects and aim to promote and upscale their farming. She said crickets have been proved to be a nutritious delicacy and the university’s researchers use it to prepare “appetising” cakes.

She spoke on Friday during the institution’s Seventh Annual Open Day on its Juja main campus.

“This is a major innovation. It will be a successful means of tackling some major societal challenges the country faces, such as food insecurity, climate change, energy resilience, resource scarcity and health,” Imbuga said.

“We want Kenyans to keep these insects in large numbers. Soon, their products will be on supermarket shelves.”

The VC said the innovation will require partnership with the government and the private sector to empower Kenyans at the grassroots and promote sustainable development and food security.

“We are equally aware that new knowledge in agricultural research and innovation will need partnerships to transfer and upscale them in wealth creation and improved livelihoods,” Imbuga said.

Kiambu woman representative Anna Nyokabi, who was the chief guest, said cricket farming will be introduced to Kiambu women and youths, as JKUAT provides a ready market.

She said in partnership with higher learning institutions, they will be trained on value addition and they will make products such as cakes, buns and chapatis, hence it will become an income-generating activity.

“I’m amazed to know crickets can make such delicious buns. It can enhance food and nutrition security and address the acute unemployment among our youth in the country,” Nyokabi said.

She urged women and the youth to adopt all forms of agriculture to generate income and reduce unemployment. Nyokabi also urged universities to nurture innovative ideas to promote the sustainability of human resources.

Deputy vice chancellor in charge of Research, Production and Extension Esther Kahangi said once the project is successful, the researchers will start exploring grasshoppers and ants, and start preparing value added food using the insects.

“We welcome other ideas from the public. We will consider them,” she said.


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