Reliable food source for developing countries?

Hi! I grew to be very interested on bug farming in the last couple weeks. I'm myself from a developing country (Brazil), and I'm wondering if it would be reliable to farm bugs (to eat, or to feed other animals) in poor regions.

I'm imagining something that a community could work on (maybe individually) and that would depend on the least requisites possible (ie, solar power would be better than rechargeable batteries, which would be better than AC). I think it would be viable to acquire funding (or even credit) for a "starter kit", as long as it's reliable (I imagine people depending on it as a food source) even on non-optimal environmental conditions (too hot/cold/dry).

From what I studied so far, mealworms seems a good option. Dry seems to be the easiest/cheapest problem to solve. Cold can be mitigated using some sheltering. I guess too hot can't be simply solved, but from what I read mealworms are ok up to 90F, so I guess this wouldn't be a problem on most regions.

Can anyone recommend some reading (maybe something like this has been already be discussed here?), or other bug suggestions, estimate on how much a "starter kit" would cost, including bedding? I guess a basic kit capable of producing 1 Kg mealworms/month would be around US$ 30.00. To be used as a food source (or animal feeding), I guess 10 Kgs/month/person seems desirable, but 10xUS$ 30,00 per person is kinda expensive.

Please share your thoughts. :)




  • Hi kavelot, - You may wish to rear crickets in Brazil rather than "yellow" mealworms since dealing with the heat for crickets will be less complicated. The mealworms live inside their food which slows heat dissipation & crickets live exposed to the air where heat can convey away. The black soldier fly larvae would be even better adapted to heat. There are other grubs you should be able to find suitable food for in Brazil as well.

  • edited October 2014

    Hello Kavelot,

    As for mealworms, I don't know if this is your way to go if you want to produce several Kg's per month. It just takes to much space and you need to buy the diet. I do not want to imply here that the mealworm kit isn't useful or anything, but I do not think it's suitable to produce 10 Kg's per month as it is right now.

    you might want to look into Black Soldier Flies, as you can feed the larvae with almost any biowaste. The larvae can be fed to poultry to provide a healthy, nutritional meal and then you can eat the poultry when it's big enough.

    I think this way makes a pretty reliable food source for developing countries but also helps cleaning up the streets. Ofcourse without implying that you live in the slums, I once saw a project where they would go to the slums and give every family/house a bucket for all of their biological waste and the buckets would be collected every day or every other day (I do not remember precisely). The waste would be fed to BSF larvae and the BSF larvae where used as feed.

    This did not only help with providing the needed proteins for the local people, but also:

    • Cleaned the streets from the garbage you often see in slopes.
    • Thus lowered the amount of pests in the slopes (like rats and cockroaches)
    • Thus made the slopes more hygienic, something that is VERY important in slums.

    Maybe you could turn this method in a beneficial way for yourself. You could ask the neighbours if they would like to give their kitchenwaste to you (Which I think most people will agree to) and use that to rear many BSF larvae.

    As for the startup costs, I can't do any usefull statements about that as I have no idea what the prices for anything are in Brazil. But I could imagine that for 30-50$, you could get pretty far.

    Hope my post is clear, but it's still early in the morning and I need some more coffee...

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