Brief news on farming and agribusiness developments from around the region

Wednesday November 28 2018

Crickets reared in a farm in Kisumu.

Crickets reared in a farm in Kisumu. International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (Icipe) researchers have discovered a new edible cricket species. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

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Scientists discover new edible cricket species

Researchers at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (Icipe) have discovered a new edible cricket species.

The insect, according to researchers, has a great promise for mass production for human consumption as well as use as protein ingredient in animal feeds.

Named Scapsipedus, the insect was collected and reared for experimental purposes at Icipe’s campus.

“Scapsipedus icipe is widely farmed across Kenya. However, until now its true scientific information was unavailable,” said Dr Tanga Mbi, the Icipe scientist who found the insect as part of his post-doctoral research.

He said the insect for long has been mistaken for a different cricket species known as Acheta domesticus L.

Scapsipedus icipe is commonly found around buildings and fields.

It has a yellow band between the eyes and differs from other species within the genus.

Nanna Roos, an associate professor, department of nutrition, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, said the discovery of the insect is exciting and important, not just because it is a new species to science, but because it already has demonstrated great large-scale farming potential.

Egerton University Department of Dairy Food Science researcher Godfrey Were said the house reared crickets have 60 per cent protein content compared to chicken, which has a protein content of 30 per cent.

-Brian Okinda


Siaya farmers to get subsidised AI services

Farmers in Siaya are set to benefit from subsidised artificial insemination services aimed at upgrading their dairy breeds and boosting milk production.

Through a partnership between International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Jean Plus Organisation and the county government, farmers will access the service at Sh500, down from Sh3,500 market rate.

Agriculture executive Charles Ogada said milk demand for the county stands at 93 million litres annually while production is at 20 million litres leaving a huge deficit that is filled by produce from Nandi.

“The average milk production of a dairy cow in the county is eight litres per day while the local Zebus produce an average of 2 litres,” said Ogada, who was speaking while meeting livestock officers.

ILRI programmes coordinator Okeyo Mwayi said the partnership has received an allocation of Sh2 million to help farmers increase their earnings by raising production of milk among other livestock products.

-Elizabeth Ojina