Sociocultural practices on the use of beetle larvae as food and feed in western Kenya


This study analyzed sociocultural practices regarding the use of beetle larvae as food and feed in four counties in western Kenya to guide future interventions that exploit the potential of beetles as an alternative protein source. rice field. Surveyed households were fairly uniform across her four surveyed counties in terms of gender, marital status, education level, and primary economic activity. These findings largely corroborate data from the 2019 Kenya Population and Housing Census on the homogeneity of sociodemographic characteristics among communities within the study area.20. Factors associated with county-level differences in other economic activities, including goat farming, pig farming, business, and formal employment, remain to be elucidated.

Our data show that beetle larvae are the second most consumed insect after termites within the study area, with consumption levels as high as 72.1% in Bungo County. Future studies are needed to identify the different species of beetle larvae consumed in western Kenya.The rate of larval consumption in this region is about 13 times higher than the previously reported national average of 3%.15. We speculate that the higher proportion of beetle larvae consumers in the study area than the national consumption level may be due to cultural differences between regions. For example, according to Kenya Population and Housing Census data for 2019,20, Bukusu (approximately 1.2 million people) are the main ethnic community in Toyoma County. The report further indicates that Kakamega County is dominated by the Wanga and Banyara tribes. Our focus group discussions revealed that these peoples culturally consume beetle larvae. People consuming beetle larvae in the neighboring counties of Busia and Tansu Nzoia, where he is a member of three ethnic groups, may have migrated there. The relationship between ethnicity and consumption of beetles and other edible insects requires more detailed research.

A global study involving 13 countries, mostly in Africa, showed that men were more willing to eat insects than women.twenty one.Eating grasshoppers is taboo for women and children in Tanzania.twenty two. Our data, in contrast, showed that in western Kenya, beetle larvae were ingested by all categories of household members, including men, women and children of all ages. This is consistent with findings from Burkina Faso that all types of edible insects were indifferently ingested by children, women and men.twenty three. Thus, gender-based differences in insect consumption rates differ significantly across geographic distances, possibly due to the influence of differences in cultural norms. Therefore, promoting the consumption of beetle larvae in the study area may benefit all household members, regardless of gender and age.

Beetle larvae were mainly sourced from cow dung compost during the long rainy season. Insects were mainly consumed daily or weekly during this period. These findings are consistent with the known fact that beetle larvae are specialized to reproduce in cow dung.7. The limited availability of larvae during the dry season suggests that protocols for artificial rearing of larvae, such as evaluation of alternative substrates for larval reproduction and better understanding of the larval life cycle, may be needed. Demonstrates the need for research on development.

Toasting and roasting were the predominant methods of cooking larvae for consumption, rather than frying, with statistical differences between counties. Grab toast and roast dominated the bungoma and busia respectively. These processing methods are among the most commonly used traditional processing techniques in Africa to promote the safety and palatability of edible insects.22, 23, 24. Differences between counties can be attributed, among other things, to differences in ethnic cultural norms.

Respondents identified benefits/reasons for consuming beetle larvae in order of priority as nutritional value, palatability, culture, and medicinal efficacy, with county-based statistical differences in all cases. Previous reports have also mentioned palatability and nutritional value as important enhancers of entomophagy.25, 26. On the one hand, our data show that aversion to beetle larval consumption is driven by lack of knowledge about its benefits, stigma, bad taste and safety concerns, in a dominant order, all It was found that there was a statistical difference between the counties in the cases. This finding suggests fear and annoyance, disgust, the influence of Western culture, limited knowledge about the benefits of entomophagy, unfamiliar sensory traits such as taste, safety concerns, and edibles as a deterrent to entomophagy. It partially supports previous reports that enumerate the heterogeneity of insect availability.17, 18. Public awareness of the nutritional value of beetle larvae and the value added to insects by incorporating beetle larvae into familiar foods such as bakery products and porridge flours has contributed to their acceptance among a broader population. may increase.27, 28.

Ingestion of beetle larvae was associated with respondents’ age, sex, education level, and economic activity, but not with marital status. These findings partially support those of Pambo et al.29 Age, gender and level of formal education are thought to be among the key factors influencing insect consumption. Data indicated that younger generations were generally more averse to ingesting beetle larvae. Age was also related to the cooking methods respondents used and their reasons for consuming or disliking the larvae.These observations may be attributed to the erosion of African traditions due to exposure to Westernized culture, which primarily affects younger generations30. We urge African governments to include insects such as beetle larvae in programs to maintain the development, documentation, preservation and dissemination of African culture among youth, as enshrined in the African Youth Charter. should include promotion of consumption of31.

Larvae were consumed more in male-headed households than in female-headed households, corroborating global reports that males are more willing to eat insects than females.twenty one. However, there are examples of beetle larvae becoming a staple in the diet of Aboriginal women. [and children] in australia2. Therefore, the effect of gender on insect consumption in different cultures requires further investigation.

The data show that larval consumption increased with education level up to secondary school, but decreased with increasing education level among university graduates, reaching the lowest levels.Knowledge of foods helps us choose which foods to eat considering their long-term health effects32. The less educated consumers are, the less nutritional knowledge they need to make food choices.33.The association between education level and entomophagy may or may not be greater depending on geographic location and familiarity with entomophagy.34.Lower larval consumption among respondents with secondary education or higher is attributed to their higher likelihood of obtaining formal employment and increased income to purchase different types of food. Conceivable35.

The study revealed that 78.2% of households used beetle larvae as animal feed (mainly traditional poultry), with Kakamega County leading with 89.6%. These findings suggest that communities may have potential interest and value in beetle farming. This result provides an opportunity to diversify the insects that are being encouraged as ingredients in livestock feeds in Kenya and beyond, and to include beetle larvae rather than relying on black soldier flies.36.

Respondents said the main perceived benefits of feeding animals with beetle larvae were increased weight gain and increased egg production in poultry, with statistical differences from county to county. Improvements in poultry weight gain, oviposition and other production parameters have also been reported for several other species of insects such as mealworms, black soldier flies and cockroaches.37, 38, 39. This is mainly due to improved gut microbial communities and animal physical characteristics, which facilitated digestion and absorption of nutrients.38, 40. However, there are concerns about the microbiological safety of using live insects from compost and need to be addressed.38, 41. In Africa, the Kenya Bureau of Standards and the Uganda National Bureau of Standards have established standards to ensure the safety of food and feed insects during production and post-harvest handling, including beetle larvae, whether farmed or semi-livestock. It pioneered the development of standards governing measures.42, 43. These regulatory milestones need to be imitated by other African countries and the entire international community to promote the safety of the use of insects as food and feed. Farmer perceptions of the benefits of beetle larvae in animal productivity require empirical validation.

About 58% of respondents recognized that beetle larvae play an important role in maintaining and conserving the environment by recycling nutrients in the soil and cleaning the environment by decomposing waste. rice field. This is consistent with reports that beetle larvae play several beneficial roles in ecosystems and nutrient recycling.8, 11, 44. However, respondents had little knowledge of beetle biology, with 97.6% unaware that the beetle life cycle goes through the stages of egg, larva, pupa and adult. In their adult stages, beetles usually feed on crops, trees, and fruits, but in some cases become serious pests.45. Adults seek out different habitats containing different decomposing organic matter to lay eggs that are food for future larvae. Community education about beetle ecology should therefore be an important component of interventions to promote beetle conservation and beneficial use.

Our data indicate that willingness to farm beetle larvae increases with age. As previously mentioned for the consumption of beetle larvae, this may be related to the erosion of African traditions among younger generations due to exposure to westernized culture.28. The data also show that married respondents show the highest interest in raising larvae, given the availability of markets and efficient techniques for mass-rearing, compared to widowed and single respondents. also showed. This supports the idea that collective decision-making generally yields better results than single decision-making households.46.

Regarding gender, only males reported using larvae as commercial poultry feed. It is estimated that 70% of poultry farms in Africa are owned by women,47, this may be true for traditional poultry, but not for commercial poultry.Looking at our data numerically [but not statistically] More female respondents (56.3%) indicated feeding traditional poultry with beetle larvae, compared to 43.8% of males.Several barriers, such as limited access to productive resources and property rights, that greatly affect women in Africa, may impede their ability to formalize poultry businesses and grow them into commercial enterprises.48. Our data also showed that males are better able than females to discern morphological differences in beetle larvae.This is likely due to the greater educational disadvantage of women than men in Africa.49.

The use of beetle larvae as forage and the benefits they confer on animals, their role in the environment, and ecology were statistically associated with the educational level of respondents. This perception increased from an uneducated population to primary and/or secondary education, and then declined to a minimum as the level of education further increased to university. This may be partly due to the impact of education level on people’s decision-making and income levels.32, 35.

Perceptions of increased immunity when animals were fed beetle larvae and egg laying in poultry were associated with respondents’ economic activities, and those involved in the major economic activities of crop cultivation, cattle raising and poultry farming. was predominant among However, the reasons for these associations require further investigation.



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