Cricket cook­ies, cakes at­tract hun­dreds at Nairobi ASK show

Crit­ters contain higher pro­tein than om­ena. They thrive in dry ar­eas and can im­prove food se­cu­rity, PhD stu­dent says

The Star (Kenya) - - Front Page - AGATHA NGOTHO @agath­ang­otho

Have you tasted a cookie or muf­fin made from crick­ets? If not, you need to make your way to the Nairobi ASK Show and taste th­ese and other sweet, crispy del­i­ca­cies made from crick­ets.

Caro­line Kip­koech from Jomo Keny­atta Univer­sity of Agri­cul­ture and Tech­nol­ogy said crick­ets are ed­i­ble and contain higher pro­teins than om­ena. They can re­duce mal­nu­tri­tion, too. The in­sects can thrive in dif­fer­ent en­vi­ron­ments, even in the dry ar­eas like Man­dera.

They can im­prove food se­cu­rity, Kip­koech said. They can also be raised in Ukam­bani where peo­ple can’t get a lot of chicken due to wa­ter scarcity and the dry cli­mate, she said.

“Crick­ets have been there in the wild mak­ing noise to us ev­ery night, but they are usu­ally not so many. So we want to raise them be­cause of the pro­tein. They have around 75 per cent pro­tein, which is very high, and we can tap this high nu­tri­tion and min­eral con­tent,” she said.

If you have a pho­bia about crick­ets, no wor­ries, you can buy cricket flour and bake cook­ies, muffins, bis­cuits, cakes and other treats.

Or you can coat the crick­ets in flour and deep-fry the crispy crit­ters.

Kip­koech, a PhD stu­dent re­search­ing nu­tri­tion and food se­cu­rity, said they are mak­ing an­i­mal feed from crick­ets to sup­ple­ment scarce om­ena.

“We can­not get enough om­ena from Lake Vic­to­ria due to wa­ter hya- cinth, pol­lu­tion and com­pe­ti­tion from man for food. Our feed in­dus­try is not get­ting enough pro­teins from om­ena and we want an al­ter­na­tive good pro­tein,” she added.

The univer­sity farms crick­ets in a stan­dard­ised way to avoid mi­cro­bial con­tam­i­na­tion.

“We har­vest and so­lar dry them. We grind with a mill to get flour, which we can use any way we like,” Kip­koech said.

“They also use very lit­tle space. In Kenya the pop­u­la­tion is in­creas­ing, so we need to look for so­lu­tions us­ing the small land we have. Crick­ets can mul­ti­ply in a very short span of three months and you have your pro­teins. You can also rear them us­ing or­ganic waste. You can ac­tu­ally use what you would have wasted to pro­duce pro­teins,” she said.

/AGATHA NGOTHO

Muffins made from wheat flour, cricket meal and sugar. Crick­ets can be used to make hu­man and an­i­mal food

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