Thailand urged to explore edible insect market

This Feb. 20, 2008 photo provided by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) shows insects for sale at a market in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The U.N. has new weapons to fight hunger, boost nutrition and reduce pollution, and they might be crawling or flying near you right now: edible insects.  (AP Photo/Arnold Van Huis, FAO, ho)
This Feb. 20, 2008 photo provided by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) shows insects for sale at a market in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The U.N. has new weapons to fight hunger, boost nutrition and reduce pollution, and they might be crawling or flying near you right now: edible insects. (AP Photo/Arnold Van Huis, FAO, ho)

BANGKOK (AP) — Researchers say Thailand is showing the world how to respond to the global food crisis: by raising bugs for eating.

The United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization released a study and handbook Tuesday on what they call ‘six-legged livestock’ — edible bugs and worms that can help meet global food demand that is expected to grow 60 percent by 2050. The agency says they provide a rich source of protein, vitamins and minerals.

The study was conducted in Thailand, where insects including crickets, grasshoppers and bamboo worms have long been a part of diets, especially in rural areas.

Entomologist Yupa Hanboonsong says about 200 insect species are eaten in Thailand. Cricket farming alone is already a $30 million industry there, but only a few other species have been commercially marketed.

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