Missouri Botanical Garden Open Conference Systems, TDWG 2014 ANNUAL CONFERENCE

Font Size: 
Edible insects and food security in DR Congo
Papy Miankeba Nsevolo, Rudy Caparros Megido, Christophe Blecker, Sabine Danthine, Paul Aman, Eric Haubruge, Taofic Alabi, Frederic Francis

Building: Elmia Congress Centre, Jönköping
Room: Rydbergsalen
Date: 2014-10-28 11:30 AM – 11:45 AM
Last modified: 2014-10-04


Eating edible insects in The Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) has been a tradition for centuries. Generally 80.0% of the Kinshasa population consumes at least one species of insect 5 days per month. The key people who market insects as food are mostly women. The income generated by this activity contributes to the well-being of households, reducing poverty and food insecurity in the capital Kinshasa. The database we are publishing with the Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA) contains sixty different species, but according to our studies focused on the city of Kinshasa, only 14 edible species were inventoried as regularly consumed. They belong respectively and by degree of importance to the Lepidoptera (46.7%), Isoptera (18.6%), Orthoptera (17.6%), Coleoptera (9.7%) and Hymenoptera (3.7%) orders of insects. This disparity shows that a lack of knowledge still remains about a complete and actual inventory of species consumed in the country. Moreover, a rigorous taxonomic matching of the used vernacular name of edible insect’s species and a precise characterization of entomophagy — the technical term for insect eating — are still needed. Congolese’s scientists working in this field (unfortunately who still retain their data on Excel spreadsheets) are aware of the urgency of sharing bio-data but they face technology and training gap that make sustained collaboration a challenge. To increase their motivation to do proper data sharing, there is an urgent need for a better access to digitization tools (and methods) and standards for mobilizing and integrating sample-based data. Because of the need of edible insects as food in order to reduce food insecurity in DR Congo, future studies should focus on sustainable ways of harvesting wild populations and the development of highly visual tools in order to protect insects species eaten to extinction, the use of improved conservation practices and ways of mass-rearing edible species and the development of economically software solutions for a better management of biodiversity data.