Enhancing food and nutrition security through promotion of edible insects value chain in Eastern Africa

Project consortium and fund




Email address

John N. Kinyuru


Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture

and Technology, Kenya


Robert Mbeche


Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture

and Technology, Kenya


Dorothy Nakimbugwe


Makerere University, Uganda


Jozef Vanden Broeck


KU Leuven, Belgium


Dagmar Mithofer


Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, Germany


Thematic and geographic area of the project:    

  • Nutritious value chain

Project’s summary/abstract:                    

This project aims to contribute to addressing malnutrition in general through ‘developing sustainable insect-based value chains for improved food and nutrition security in Kenya and Uganda. Insects contribute to the human food chain either by direct consumption or indirectly as feed for domestic animals when farmed as mini-livestock. Cricket and grasshopper farming models have been successfully established in Kenya and Uganda with farmers being trained and supported to take up the venture as a business. Grasshopper rearing protocols were developed through the INSFEED project and a standard for “Dry insect products for compounding animal feeds’ was developed and approved in Kenya and Uganda  as proof of concept. Crickets and grasshoppers rearing models and nutritious, safe insect-based products have been developed and tested locally satisfactorily. Therefore subsequent work is required to prove commercial viability and up-scale them for commercialization of the innovations in order to satisfy the projected high demand for insect-based foods. In Uganda, for instance, Makerere University market tested a ready-to-eat grasshopper product and the results demonstrated enormous demand while demand for cricket based bread in Kenya was high. However, edible insect value chains remain under-developed, therefore limiting their contribution to food and income security in the region. Ento-Economy project aims to unlock the potential of edible insect value chains in Kenya and Uganda. Lessons learnt from ongoing and previous research initiatives in the Eastern African region on mass production and processing of insects will be harnessed to guarantee success.

Project’s main objective(s):                             

  1. Establishing a multi-stakeholder alliance for improving and strengthening insect value chains;
  2. Evaluating and disseminating models for mass production of crickets and grasshoppers by women and youth MSME’s to create a sustainable input supply system for insect value chains;
  3. Enhancing commercialization of insect value chains by youth and women managed micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs);
  4. Enhancing utilization and consumption of insects, insect-based products and products of animals raised on insect-based feed; and
  5. Enhancing the social, policy and regulatory environment for use of insects as food and feed in Uganda and Kenya.

Theory of Change and Impact Pathway

Summary ToC with assumptions                        

The conventional agricultural development model, especially in Africa is based on agricultural intensification (i.e. proper crop and livestock husbandry, proper use of inorganic fertilizers, chemicals, improved seeds, etc.) of a few common staples and large livestock. However, increasing yields through agricultural intensification (for instance, increased use of inorganic fertilizers and non-selective chemicals) pollute the environment and in the long run reduces food production because they are not sustainable [26]. Moreover, in the face of climate change, the reliance on a few common staples and livestock enterprises have exacerbated food insecurity – often as a result of crop or livestock failure. Therefore, innovative ways of producing more food are required and re-emerging foods that increase dietary diversity become very important. Among the re-emerging foods, insects are a rich source of protein and micro-nutrients that can improve human diet, especially for individuals suffering from poor nutrition due to protein and micronutrient deficiencies. But the insect value-chains are under-developed for the envisaged role of supporting food and nutritional security and livelihoods. The Ento-Economy project theory of change is thus based on the idea that edible insects’ value chains can enhance food and nutritional security and support livelihoods through a two-pronged approach – push and pull. On the one hand, it requires a push effect including providing insect mass production technologies, the knowledge on production of insects, and inputs use (WP 2 and 4). On the other hand, considering that the insect value chains are only starting to emerge, the pull approach is to stimulate, understand and respond to consumer demand (WP 3), set up a governance structure for strengthening the linkages between the actors in the value chain (WP 1), increasing access to markets through change of entrepreneurial behavior (WP 3) and supporting the development of supportive policies (WP 5). The pathway of impact is based on the fact that under the push effect, value chain actors will be strengthened to upscale the production of insects leading to a more competitive and productive value chain. The pull effect on the other hand will create market oriented value chains. In addition to conducive policies for insect value chains, it is expected that a more organized insect value chain would emerge which will have the potential to increase food and nutritional security of rural and urban households and livelihoods by providing high quality protein food and feed.

Expected outcomes and impact:                          


  1. Governance of value chain established and strengthened
  2. Knowledge on insect farmers increased to 2000 farmers
  3. Uptake of insect farming as an enterprise by 40 MSMEs
  4. Increased production of edible insects among 40 farmer groups
  5. Increased mass production of insect colonies
  6. Develop at least 2000 farmers and 40 MSMEs in insect related businesses
  7. Policies in support of insect integration in the food and feed industry are put in place
  8. Insects are integrated in food and feed value chains
  9. Farmers linkages to markets are developed and sustained
  10. Increased utilization of insects and insect foods by 2000 households;
  11. Increased knowledge of preparation, and storage of insects
  12. Insects are integrated in the food and feed industry
  13. Improved enabling environment for insect production and marketing


  1. Organized and strengthened Insect value chain 
  2. Increased  food security for 2000 households
  3. Enhanced livelihoods for 200 households through commercialization of insect value chains
  4. Environment for insect value chains enhanced