Insects protein bars to fight malnutrition in South Africa:
When you hear the word “termite”, don’t you think of those terrible insects that eat your wood house? Well, not all termites eat wood!
The ones we are talking about live inside termite mounds within the Savannah and feed on a type of mushroom called Termitomyces, and last but not least, the locals eat them!!
Our project is located in South Africa, in the Limpopo province
Soldier termites defend the termite mound and consist of more than 60% protein and a high iron content.
The elders know their virtues and transmitted the art of harvesting and cooking the termites to the new generations even though, nowadays, the tradition is dying out.
Knowing that, we came up with an idea….
The context: what problem to solve ?
South Africa has one of the greatest inequities between rich and poor people, most particularly in the Limpopo province, which exhibits an unemployment rate of 40%, with more than 60% of the population living under the national poverty line. Moreover, malnutrition is widespread and schools currently receive financial help from the government in order to give the pupils a healthy meal.
What solution ?
Would it be possible to fight malnutrition by selling insect-based products to schools ?
In October 2016 we went back to the village where Marie lived for 5 months and we talked with people on how to answer that question.
“We want to create employment opportunities through the harvest of soldier termites, and produce protein bars that we will sell to regional schools!” claimed the persons gathered during our meetings with Ernest, the village leader.
No sooner said than done, we bought a coffee grinder and produced a powder with sun-dried termites. Then, we tried several protein bar recipes which we tested on about forty people. The results were very encouraging as ¾ of the persons who tried our product liked it!
What’s next for this project?
We produced a business plan under the name of NAPRA which we presented to the Graines d’agro contest in December 2016 and won! On the side, Marie worked with a group of students on the protein bar formula and the establishment of a production unit, at the University Supagro in Montpellier. Unfortunately, in January 2017, the local key player, Ernest, died and the project slowed considerably. However, if you need advice on the subject do not hesitate to contact us!
The Bug Trotters