Editor's Note [Volume 22 No. 9 (2022)]

Alternative sources of quality protein

Let us be serious. With nature behaving the way it is right now, displacing people including those who would produce the food we rely on, and rendering farmland untenable, conflicts and potential wars that are affecting global trade, a fast-growing population in the vulnerable regions, and virtually unprecedented conditions that are unsettling the world, we have to seriously think about how the world will be fed in the near future. Already we have problems meeting the dietary needs of a sizeable portion of the world population. It seems as if there is always some event impeding our desire to reach targets set at UN-organized global conferences.

How about going back to what we used to eat before? I have always "yucked" at the idea of eating snakes, snails and frogs. But then I do not mind eating crocodile meat, rabbit, crickets, flying ants, and so on. Eating some of these items used to be frowned upon. However, more and more we see people openly sharing the unique kinds of food they eat, foods that others might find obnoxious, even by the mention of them. Clearly, we have entered a phase where we cannot just sit back and take things for granted. We have to think, but more importantly, we have to act. Also, we have to partner and share.

I wish to invite manuscripts on insects as food and feed, and indeed as a delicacy. Please make it as picturesque as possible. After all, food is colourful, and the more colourful it is the healthier it is. If there is a manuscript on food cultural practices that are unique, please share. We are interested in such. Indeed I wish to appeal for financial support for the special issue. Development partners and donors interested in this topic, please come to our aid and enable us to put out a good publication on unique protein sources for human food and animal feed.

We need to demonstrate that promoting such foods and practices is in keeping with sound environmental practices, minimizing production of greenhouse gases while diversifying diets. More importantly, it will begin to move us away from increasingly unhealthy and monotonous diets, generated by an environment that is not friendly to mother- nature. As it continues to be observed, the way we produce food currently is unsustainable. Increasing hunger and malnutrition and the inability to equitably distribute the food we have is an indication that we are losing the ability to feed the world population. I feel, though, that we produce enough, waste a lot, and do not know how to distribute equitably. So, how do we sustainably capitalize on other sources of protein? From the seas, rivers, and other waters? Insects, wild animals, and how do we then balance all this?

The world population now is headed towards 8 billion and in 2050 is projected to be 9.7 billion. Please share comments and send in interesting manuscripts, and I appeal for funding to support such a special issue. GlobalData and FAO.org are good sources of information on insects as good protein source. There was considerable focus on plant-based "meat" at the just concluded 21st IUFoST Congress in Singapore.

Thank you.

Ruth Khasaya Oniang'o
Editor-in-Chief, AJFAND


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