Lagos – A Zoologist, Prof. Adewumi Idowu, on Thursday said that consumption of grasshoppers would provide an alternate source of nutrients to human body.
Idowu, who works with the Department of Pure and Applied Zoology, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
He said, “I started the enquiry into having another source of proteinduring my doctoral thesis in 1988; then, I discovered grasshopper as a good source of protein.
“I also went to a particular place in Ondo State where people there have a way of producing and processing it.
“I discovered that grasshopper has a lot of high protein, vitamins and iron, which are essential nutrients needed by the body.
“Protein obtained from grasshoppers can compete with other insects, more than what we have in red meat. So, it can be a form of supplement and also rich in vitamins.’’
Idowu, commenting on its acceptability as edible food, said that it had been well accepted by the European Union and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
“A lot of emphasis is now on having another source of protein that are not too stressful for the body to process. In the realisation of this, grasshopper has gained credibility in Europe.
“At a conference in Netherland last year, half of the foods served over there were insect-based, and we now have people that specialised in insect-based cuisine.
“Protein from grasshopper can be easily processed by the body and does not require too much energy before it is processed.
“What the insect eats are not too stressful to our body, while some of the meat that we eat also constitutes anti-bodies which are not good for the body,’’ he said.
The zoologist said that grasshopper could be cultivated like bees.
“Grasshopper can be cultivated, either domestically or kept in the wild or in the laboratory.
“What needed to be done is to collect the eggs and store where it could be hatched.
“I hope in the coming years, there will be a modern way of preservation which could help in making grasshoppers available.
“I am calling on relevant authorities to make insects one of the common delicacies that could be comparable with other conventional food items,’’ Idowu said. (NAN)