As the global population is expected to reach 9 billion people by 2050, food production must increase by 60% to meet demand. Increasing agricultural commodities to meet this demand for food products exacerbates several issues of human concern, such as over-fertilization and natural resource depletion. Further, changes in diets due to uncertainty in local crop availability change our food forecast. We are, however, poised to overcome agriculture and nutrition challenges, and become food secure by 2030. One challenge is to produce protein in a cost-effective, sustainable manner, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Protein is an essential key ingredient of livestock feeds, and is necessary for animal growth, body maintenance, and producing offspring. The use and optimization of farming insects for protein-rich livestock feed is a transformative area of agriculture-based research that will contribute to improved food security and meeting global sustainable developmental goals. The resulting need is to minimize the anthropogenic impacts through research-driven approaches that will improve sustainable agricultural practices. This need will be addressed with insects. Larvae of certain insects feed on decomposing organic matter and can reduce associated bacterial (including pathogens) populations. The resulting larvae can be dried, milled, and used as feed for livestock, including poultry and aquaculture. Optimizing insect life history traits and their associated microbes as novel feed for livestock is currently understudied, but has tremendous impact to increase agricultural sustainability, improve feed security, and be easily introduced into local food production chains in Africa.
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