Edible insects in West and Central Africa
|Oryctes sp. (beetles) larvae on skewers (Benin). Photo S. Tchibozo|
The purpose of the LINCAOCNET project (2009-2010) is to collect and disseminate as much information about the edible insects of French speaking West and Central Africa as possible.
A website has been set up for this purpose (http://gbif.africamuseum.be/lincaocnet) and contains a database of insects which are consumed in 10 African countries. This information source serves as a basis for better scientific knowledge and for the improved use of insects as a foodstuff.
Importance of the project
The project is of importance both for the general public and for the world of science. It promotes on the one hand entomofagy (the consumption of insects) by providing information which is accessible to everyone, and on the other hand, the management and conservation of edible insects.
|Crickets that have been boiled and then dried, sold on the market (Niger). Photo S. Tchibozo|
More than 1,700 insect species are consumed in Africa, Asia and America. The demand for protein continues to increase worldwide and this is why it is ever more important to find alternatives to meat so that the need for protein can be assuaged. The cultivation of edible insects is not only less of a pollutant than breeding cattle, it also provides all sorts of nutritional advantages. Apart from being rich in protein (50 to 75% for locusts as opposed to 18% for meat), insects are also good providers of iron, zinc, calcium, phosphorus and vitamins B and D. The insects are already grilled, deep-fried, boiled, salted, dried or imported to Europe in the form of flour in order to satisfy the request of the African diaspora. Belgium imports around 3 tonnes of dried caterpillars each year.
|Screenshot of the website|
If you go to http://gbif.africamuseum.be/lincaocnet you will find information on each insect observed. This is categorised by means of an observation page containing a photo, the local and scientific name, pronunciation in the local language (audio extract) and the place where that particular insect can be found. In addition, information is provided on collection and preparation methods, conservation techniques and some therapeutic uses. All information on the host plants of these insects is also kept up to date. New observations or recipes can always be added to the website.
|Chain of caterpillars (which will then be cooked). Photo S. Tchibozo|
LINCAOCNET is an initiative of the Centre de Recherche pour la Gestion de la Biodiversité (CRGB), an NGO set up in Cotonou (Benin). The project is an international partnership involving both a North-South and South-South collaboration. The project is financed by the Fonds Francophones des Inforoutes (a programme of the International Organisation for Francophony) and, in the context of the CABIN-project, the Belgian Development Cooperation.
The local data was gathered by Séverin Tchibozo (NGO Centre de Recherche pour la Gestion de la Biodiversité, Benin) with the backing of a network of partners from every country visited. Franck Theeten (Cybertaxonomy) has once put together the concept for the website and entered all the data. The final evaluation of the project took place on 27 June 2011 in the RMCA.
The website can be consulted at: http://gbif.africamuseum.be/lincaocnet/
The Entomology section and Biodiversity Information Services of the RMCA carry no responsibility on the information and content of the LINCAOCNET website