Alex Musabirema, an animal scientist is currently working out a new idea – growing crickets for food, as a solution to the malnutrition problems that have been often faced in the country. Insect farming is the practice of raising and breeding insects as livestock, also referred to as minilivestock or micro stock. Insects may be farmed for the commodities they produce – such as silk, honey, lac or insect tea – or for them themselves; to be used as food, as feed, as a dye, and otherwise. Insects, among others, show promise as animal feed. And, research shows that insects are nutrient-efficient compared to other meat sources. As opposed to meat, lower costs are required to care for and produce insects. Musabirema started his company, Nutri Farm, in 2019, as he was looking for “an innovative way to solve the problem of malnutrition among infants and pregnant women.” At present, he has attracted funding from the National Council for Science and Technology (NCST). He is trying to scale it up to not only increase the size of his farm, but to also venture into manufacturing novel products from the crickets. For example, he could make nutritious powder that can be mixed in porridge. Though Rwanda is known to be a country where people traditionally do not eat insects, Musabirema says his business has already shown good signs of getting clients, judging from a practical market study that he has done. “We did a market study at Nyamirambo and Kimironko markets, in Kigali, where we gave some of our products to people to taste. We gave fried crickets to people to see how they found them. The first one who tasted it asked for more, and actually went on to call more people to come and try it out.” Musabirema notes that the crickets are more nutritious than meat in terms of proteins, yet are not expensive, and thus can be a cost-friendly option. They can be eaten as food, snacks, or even be packaged in samosas. Issues of low perceptions towards insects as food in Rwanda are real. But with sensitization, he noted, people can realize the value of such food and the market can be more open to them. Doing Business also talked to Shobhita Soor, the founder of Legendary Foods, a Ghana-based company that farms palm larvae, a type of insect that is a delicacy to some communities in West African countries. Her company built a technology to farm the insects at scale, to provide a more sustainable way of availing them to their eaters who traditionally used to hand harvest them from palm trees. “What is interesting about people who eat palm larva is that they don’t see it as a unique product category. They don’t think of themselves as insect eaters versus non-insect eaters. It is just another form of meat; another form of animal protein for them,” she told Doing Business. She refers to palm larva as an “indigenously brilliant super-food” from which her company has started to manufacture novel products like biscuits as well as hot sauce. “We believe this is very key to have insects consumed on a mass scale basis globally in markets where they were not naturally consumed,” she noted. Soor sells a range of products, with the primary line being fresh and frozen larvae sold to consumers and businesses. This serves as a direct substitute for meat and fish. The company also has larvae cafés at its site in Kumasi, which serves value-added products such as larvae stew or soup. Reports indicate that, globally, up to 1.2 trillion insects are raised on farms annually for food and animal feed. Countries that farm the most insects in the world are Thailand, France, South Africa, China, Canada, and the United States. According to reports, the insect farming industry is rapidly growing, with millions of dollars invested into startups working to industrialize the industry, especially to produce insect alternatives to animal feed and fishmeal.