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Experts warn that meat could soon be out of the menu due to climate change

Posted by JUDITH DORA AKOLO on 20 November 2022 3:00 PM CAT

Experts warn that meat could soon be out of the menu due to climate change  

By Judith Akolo

As the impacts of climate change continue to be felt across the world, pressure on water supply and pasture for livestock is becoming evident. Experts now say meat could soon be out of the menu with the fall back position being a shift in culinary tastes to insect consumption. 

Speaking during the 13th Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security, a Senior Scientist at the International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology Dr. Chrysantus Mbi Tanga called for the inclusing of insects in the African food systems.

Dr. Tanga who is also the Head of Insects for Food and Other User Progrmas at ICIPE  posited that owing to the challenges arising from climate change coupled by dwindling water and pasture for livestock, "insects remain the best source and alternative for meat since the current meat production models are not sustainable."

During the meeting also attended by nutrition experts drawn from across the continent as well as policy planners, Dr. Tanga said that insects are also seen to offer great potential for animal feed and organic fertilizer production. An expanded use of insects for livestock feed has the potential to release for human consumption, as well as reduce the import bill for soya and soya based edible oils.

They are vouching for utilizing indigenous knowlege on edible insects in order to encourage the integration of insects into the food systems, as a source of food in the National Agriculture and Food Security Investment Plan (NAIPs).

"Concerted efforts are needed to promote the use of insects in ways that are culturally acceptable," says a communique released at the end of the ADFN and adds, "effort should be made to include rebranding insects and portraying them in a positive light."

 Among issues of discussion at the ADNS was the need for social protection in order to enhance the resilience of vulnerable social groups. This will also help in ensuring that ecosystems are protected from encroachment as people struggle to survive on limited resources.

The experts note that nutrition and social protection are interlinked because "malnutrition tends to accentuate vulnerabilities and perpetuates poverty, which then calls for more social protection interventions that help in fighting it by reaching underserved populations, addressing immediate needs and building resilience."

The experts are calling on African governments to ensure that when designing social protection interventions, they also contextualize the local realities, since when the main focus of social protection programmes zeroes on poverty eradication, "they often fail to adopt a holistic approach considering poverty is multifaceted, and can be multi-layered." 

They aver that since the poor are not a homogeneous population, and there is the need to design specific social protection instruments that target and address specific needs, noting that income security does not equate to food security and food security does not equate to nutrition security. "It is, therefore, recommended that countries build social protection systems that are peoplecentred, and food security and nutrition sensitive."

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