The insect industry in turmoil with a new knowledge sharing center

AgriFutures Australia, the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and the International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), have launched a new knowledge-sharing initiative to accelerate the breeding of insects as emerging industry in Africa and Australia.

The Emerging Insect Technology Hub (EIT-Hub) will centralize engagement and knowledge sharing around insects as food, feed and fertilizer, bringing together industry players, scientists and investors to discuss issues related to emerging insect technologies.

The EIT-Hub was developed by AgriFutures Australia, an Australian Commonwealth Statutory Research and Development Corporation, ACIAR, the Australian Government’s Agricultural Research for Development Agency, and icipe, an international research institute. research scientist based in Nairobi, Kenya.

The founding members of the EIT-Hub are Dr Chrysantus M. Tanga from icipe, Dr Anna Okello from ACIAR and Dr Olivia Reynolds from AgriFutures Australia. Mr. Duncan Rowland of the Insect Protein Association of Australia is the first chair of the EIT-Hub.

ACIAR Research Program Manager for Livestock Systems, Dr Anna Okello, says ACIAR research projects conducted by icipe since 2015 will provide a knowledge base from which sectors in Africa and Australia can lean.

“The research in East Africa has been conclusive; breeding insects for animal feed provides a high quality, nutritious food for fish, pigs and poultry that has various environmental benefits and is also scalable in different settings.

“We have seen with our own eyes how the industry has progressed in East Africa, moving from farm-level production to small and medium enterprises that have created jobs for women and youth.

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InsectiPro’s Talash Huijbers with a cricket at his company’s headquarters in Kenya. Ms Huijbers spoke at the launch of the EIT-Hub and participated in ACIAR-funded and icipe-led research breeding insects for animal feed.

“While the contexts between Africa and Australia vary, any new or emerging industry, regardless of context, faces a steep learning curve – governance, legislation, quality assurance, sharing of research findings – who must sail. These common interests will be at the center of the new EIT-Hub.

The new EIT-Hub initiative is a public good that will support the growth of a new sector with enormous potential to benefit sustainable development globally. The hub will be a catalyst for scientists and industry to share knowledge and research to accelerate progress and adoption of insect technologies.

“Over the past decade, icipe has established itself as a world leader in the insect food, feed and other uses research program. Through our championship, there is a growing movement in East Africa, which demonstrates the reality of insects as a transformative force in reshaping our food system into a more sustainable and vibrant circular economy,” says Dr Segenet Kelemu, Managing Director and CEO, icipe.

AgriFutures Australia Senior Manager, Emerging Industries, Dr Olivia Reynolds is excited about the opportunities for collaboration and knowledge sharing between Africa and Australia that will arise from the EIT-Hub.

“The EIT-Hub will provide a forum to bring together industry stakeholders, scientists and investors for collaborative discussion and support on issues related to emerging insect technologies. Rather than duplicating these efforts in Australia and Africa, the EIT-Hub will bring stakeholders together to maximize sharing opportunities. This is an exciting prospect for the industry. ‘

A first objective of the EIT-Hub will be the creation of a reference manual for the production and processing of black soldier flies. Led by icipe, the digital publication will be open access and fill a knowledge gap around best practices, providing a vital resource for industry players worldwide.

Find out more about the launch of the EIT-Hub via the icipe website.

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