Request for Information: USAID/USDA Understanding Global Insect Production

Funding Agency:
US Agency for International Development

Insect consumption is an historically and globally common source of nutrition. For our purposes, we are focusing specifically on insect production for animal feed rather than insect foraging or insects for direct human consumption (Entomophagy). We use insect production to refer to all insect parts and their derivatives associated with any stage of an insect’s life cycle.

Insect production has the potential to provide sustainable solutions to many challenging development problems such as food insecurity, overharvest of marine fish and wild animals (bushmeat) for consumption, waste disposal, mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, and adaptation to climate change. The feed to protein ratio calculated for some insect species (1.7 kg of feed to produce 1 kg of insect protein) strongly suggests opportunities for more efficient production compared to traditional livestock (eg. 10 kg feed for 1 kg of beef.)

Insects are a common and growing input into human food chains worldwide. In rural communities, small-scale and low-cost insect production provides protein and other nutrients to directly supplement diets or for processed feed for domestic animals such as chickens and freshwater fish. Larger-scale insect production models could help sustainably replace marine inputs in current fishmeal value chains that threaten marine ecosystems from overharvest. From small to large-scale, insect production could provide critical economic opportunities for local economies and empower women, youth, and disadvantaged populations across the developing world.

One particularly innovative aspect of insect production is its potential contribution to reducing food waste. A circular economy model in which waste, such as crop residues, restaurant waste, or livestock waste--estimated to contribute to 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions--is used as feed for farmed insects provides multiple sustainable development opportunities. This model has yet to be implemented on a large scale in a USG-funded development context and is an intriguing application to achieve goals related to Food Loss and Waste. Food-waste based insect production would amplify the already lower carbon footprint and inputs necessary for insect production as compared to other protein-production agriculture operations. Other circular economy (also called resource recovery) approaches have included using sewage sludge or fecal sludge as feed for insect production.

Independent estimates have predicted that over the next five years, insect production and consumption will grow into an industry valued between $1-$4.6 billion. This emerging industry has the potential to contribute to USAID and broader USG policies such as the Global Food Security Strategy, and the Global Water Strategy, USAID’s Private Sector Engagement Policy, and forthcoming Climate Change Strategy as well as USDA’s Food Loss and Waste goals. It is also in alignment with the administration’s interest in climate change mitigation and adaptation.

USAID and USDA recognize the power and innovation that arises from a diverse, equitable, inclusive and respectful engagement with colleagues, partners and stakeholders. Both agencies recognize that traditionally vulnerable members of society are more likely to be unintentionally excluded if they are not intentionally included. Wherever we engage, we aim to create a nurturing space for open and honest dialogue to share, learn and create successful, longterm solutions. This RFI also acknowledges and respects that various Indigenous Peoples and local communities may already engage in entomophagy and there may be opportunities for these communities to significantly contribute. Engagement with these communities will be in line with USAID’s Policy on Promoting the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Response Date:  Feb. 18, 2022 (was December 22, 2021)




Environmental & Life Sciences

External Deadline

February 18, 2022