Sustainability of insect breeding

Sustainability of insect breeding
The most updated projections say the by 2050 the world population will touch 9
billion people (UN, 2004), the biggest challenge we will face in the years to come will be how to produce enough food for everyone in a sustainable enough way that could prevent our planet from collapsing.
As we may know the agri-food system is one of the most polluting industries in the world; nowadays producing food cost us a too high price in terms of land use, green house gases, water, soil and air pollution. Amongst all sectors of agri-food, one in particular is pointed out as the most polluting: livestock production. Livestock production contributes for the 18% of GHG global emissions and consumes 1/3 of the crops produced every year on our planet.
By 2050 the global consumption of meat has been predicted to be approximately of 465 millions of tonnes, which is double the actual numbers. 45% of the emissions linked to livestock production is due to feed which is mainly based on soybean meal and fishmeal. Soybean cultivations are one of the major causes of the Amazonian rainforest’s clearance, while the production of fishmeal is impoverishing our fish stocks (van Huis, 2013).
Insects can be the key to low environmental impact animal protein production.
In addition to have excellent nutritional values insect are at the moment the most sustainable source of animal protein around.
That is because insects have an outstanding energetic efficiency. In fact insects unlike cows, pigs and other traditional livestock animals depend on the external environment to regulate their body temperature, this means that more than 90% of the calories that they ingest are used to increase their body mass.
That means that insects convert energy into body mass (that means food for us) in amore efficient way than traditional livestock. Insects spend up to 250 times less energy, directly translatable into feed, to produce 1 kilo of proteins than cows. Obtaining one kilo of proteins from beef can produce up to 175kg of CO2, while with mealworms larvae
(Tenebrio molitor) the value is just 14kg of CO2 per kilo of protein.
All this information should open your eyes towards how edible insect are one of the foods that could definitely help us ti lower the environmental impact of global food production.