Thailand's Edible Insect Industry
Insect traps set-up on a villagers garden in a remote village. With lights left on all night the villagers will collect what has fallen into a bucket before dawn.
Due to an increase in the use of insecticide in Thailand many villages have abandoned trying to catch insects naturally. Nong Plaa Dak Yai in Buriram Province is one of the exceptions with locals catching hundreds of kilo's per year simply by switching a neon light on overnight.
The western world cringes at the thought of eating insects. But in other parts of the world it is a common and popular addition to peoples daily intake. Granted most of this exists on a small-scale, with local villagers catching for their own consumption, still worldwide 1500 species of insects are eaten.
But no-where else like Thailand has it become a multi-million dollar industry. Thailand leads the way in the world for large scale industrial breeding farms of certain types of insects specifally for the consumer market. Crickets alone are now bred by over 20,000 farmers in the Northeast of the country and Makro supermarket chain sells frozen bags of insects from crickets to grubs. Even a University in a Provincial town has a faculty that studies the rearing of different insects for industrialised production.
Entomophagy, the eating of insects, has in the last few years become a popular topic because it is seriously being seen as a means of helping in the worlds food shortages at a time when the weather is becoming ever more erratic.
In 2013 the FAO released a large report on entomology and how Thailand’s model could be replicated in other countries. But first the perception of eating insects in developed nations needs to change.