Meru traders turn edible insects delicacy to successful business

As heavy rains continue to hit the grounds in many parts of the country, some traders at Keeria market in Igoji East Ward Imenti South constituency Meru County have gone to the extent of grabbing the opportunity and turning insect delicacy into a successful business. According to reports when it rains, the temperature and moisture levels of the environment change, which affects the way termites behave. In order to survive, termites require certain conditions to start new colonies; increased rainfall tends to make conditions more ideal for termites.
Locals who would trap the termites and hawk them around in homesteads, social joints and marketplaces have now been forced to go all the way to Igoji, Kanyakine and other villages in search of them. Mr Paul Mutwiri, who used to build the tents for collecting the termites himself, now has to pay Sh100 for a cup of the insects, which he then sells at a KES 40 profit. But he is quick to add that he would get more if he was still able to trap the termites himself.

Ms Joy Karwitha a termites vendor at Keeria market says she is able to sell more than 50 cups of termites before the day ends, saying customers are more than the commodity.

“I pray that the rain may continue so that I can make more money to pay fees for my 4 kids by next week and settle my bills,” said Joy. In the Ameru community, residents have embraced these special insects which are black in colour and small in size where the majority prefer them more than other meats.

According to Dr Joyce Njeru a nutritionist at Meru Teaching and Referral Hospital, termites are a good source of Vitamin A, protein and a rich source of fat meaning they are energy-dense insects. Dr Joyce added that termites provide a good strategy for dietary diversification as well as mitigating food insecurity where these insects are acceptable. She encourages the communities to eat these edible insects as a source of locally available foods since they are cheap.

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