Indigenous health care
Nutrition of under-five (Mopani worms)
Motivation for the research
Malnutrition is still responsible to a large extent for the high under-five mortality rate in many parts of the world. A WHO report states that nearly 50% of the world’s populations are affected by one form or the other of nutrient deficiency. Due to inadequate diets, a third of the world’s under-five children fail to reach their physical and mental potential and many are made vulnerable to infectious diseases that account for half of their death. The global population is expected to be 8.9 billion by 2050 and there are no records of sufficient foods to cater for the expected increase. Currently, there are more than 800 million hungry people in the world. In addition to hunger, there is an estimated one billion people who are suffering from protein deficiency in the world. It was on this note that the United Nations (UN) suggested that attention and adequate awareness be given to cheap but high sources of protein such as edible insects. Indigenous edible insects (IEI) have the potential to improve food and nutrition security in Sub-Sahara Africa but their value chains remained undeveloped. The aim of the multi-country project was to investigate the determinant of the value chain development for Eastern(Kenya and Tanzania) and Southern Africa (Zambia and South Africa) countries.
Our success stories on Mopani worms
We conducted a situational analysis of insect consumption, in two countries, South Africa and Zambia, through a literature review on available information on nutrient content, harvesting, processing and storage of the most commonly eaten insects in Southern Africa. A descriptive survey was also conducted to determine harvesting processing and storage practices. Zambia conducted nutrient analyses on Mopani worms (protein content and quality – amino acid composition) to evaluate potential key roles the insects may play in mother and child nutrition.