The North American Coalition for Insect Agriculture (NACIA) responds to efforts by Senators Flake and Cortez Masto to prohibit USDA subsidies for Insect Agriculture
December 17, 2018:
Global interest in Insects as Food and Feed was sparked by the 2013 release of a report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO): Edible Insects – Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security. Concerns about feeding a rapidly growing worldwide population (estimated to reach 9 billion or higher by 2050 from 7.5 billion today) led to problem-solving around increasing food production in an environment of ever-increasing scarcity.
After a failed attempt to add an amendment to the Farm Bill earlier this year that sought to ban research funding for insect agriculture and insect-based foods, Senator Flake (R-AZ) has now teamed up with Senator Cortez Masto (D-NV) in a renewed effort to frame ongoing research supporting insect farming as “wasteful.” Their proposed legislation (Removing Excessive Dollars to Uproot and Cut Expensive (REDUCE) Government Waste Act) is heavy on puns but light on facts concerning insects.
Many innovations are misunderstood in their infancy until the scales tip to wider acceptance. In many parts of the world, insects as food and feed are well established. Research shows that insects have been an important part of the human diet for millennia, and remain a protein-rich food staple for billions of people today.Nearby, in Mexico, there are more than 549 known species of insects which are eaten, and comida prehispanica is once again trending. One of the most well-known is the chapuline, a type of tasty grasshopper which holds deep cultural culinary importance.
Today, insects as a source of protein for food and feed is a growing industry with over 250 companies worldwide. The insects as feed industry alone was estimated to be worth $900 million in 2016 and is forecast to reach $1.5 billion by 2022 (Mordor Intelligence, 2017). The edible insects market is expected to reach nearly $1.2 billion by 2023, supported by a CAGR of 23.8% per a recent Research and Markets report. There is an explosion of growth in this industry globally and the U.S. lags behind. “The insect agriculture industry has grown tremendously in only a few short years – creating jobs, starting American businesses, and fueling economic growth. All signs point to that growth not only continuing, but accelerating. We would welcome the opportunity to show Senators Cortez Masto and Flake how this new agricultural sector could benefit not just the small business owners and farmers already active across 27 states, but their constituents in Nevada and Arizona as well,” said Robert Nathan Allen, NACIA President.