Farmers from Kajiado, Nairobi, Kiambu, Nanyuki, Kirinyaga, Embu, Nyeri, Machakos, Kitui, Laikipia, Nyahururu, Juja and Kisii converged at JKUAT for a 3-day training on cricket farming and processing for food and feed, November 13, 2017.
The training organised by the JKUAT Insect Farm (JIF) under the JKUAT Cricket Project seeks to equip farmers on how to set up a cricket farm and the day to day management of the farm. It also seeks to build the capacity of the farmers on the importance of cricket as a food and feed and explore on the opportunities of cricket farming.
During the opening of the training, Deputy Vice Chancellor in-charge of Research Production and Extension, Prof. Mary Abukutsa, said JKUAT was spearheading the dissemination of cricket farming and was confident that the training will produce competent cricket farmers who will eventually be trainers and champions of cricket farming in their various regions.
She also informed the participants that the JKUAT Insect Farm, apart from being a center of excellence on cricket farming, was also in the process of creating awareness of cricket farming to the food and feed manufacturers to provide a market for cricket products.
Prof. Abukutsa, acknowledging that cricket farming is a relatively ostracized innovation in the region assured the farmers that JKUAT will be available to offer technical support where needed. She was confident that the support would foster upscaling of cricket farming and utilisation as a source of protein in food and feed.
JKUAT Cricket Project Principal Investigator, Dr. John Kinyuru acknowledged that cricket farming will play a critical role towards economic empowerment and food security in the country. “Crickets offer a highly economical, sustainable solution to existing food and nutrition insecurity with the production and distribution of high quality protein to meet growing demand,” opined Dr. Kinyuru.
On why farmers should pick up cricket farming, Dr. Kinyuru said crickets use less land, feed and water and have a high nutritional value as compared to livestock. The training ending November 15, 2017, will provide the farmers with a cricket farming and processing handbook. The handbook describes some of the common cricket species used in farming and the daily management of a cricket farm including processing for sale and important risks to be taken into consideration.
The training was also attended by JKUAT Director for Production and Innovation, Prof. Martin Obanda, JKUAT Director for Research, Dr. Patrick Mbindyo and JKUAT Cricket Project Investigator and JKUAT Dean, School of Biological Sciences, Dr. Shadrack Muya.