|Title||Smallholder farmers' knowledge and willingness to pay for insect-based feeds in Kenya|
|Author(s)||Chia, Shaphan Y.; Macharia, John; Diiro, Gracious M.; Kassie, Menale; Ekesi, Sunday; Loon, Joop J.A. van; Dicke, Marcel; Tanga, Chrysantus M.|
|Source||PLoS ONE 15 (2020)3. - ISSN 1932-6203|
Laboratory of Entomology
|Publication type||Refereed Article in a scientific journal|
Edible insects are increasingly being considered as sustainable alternatives to fish and soybean meals in animal feed because of their high nutritional quality and environmental benefits. However, successful introduction of a new product to the market depends on the target user's acceptance. Thus, evaluating the potential demand of insect-based feeds would provide relevant information for policy development. The present study assessed farmers' knowledge on edible insects as feed, their acceptance of integrating insect meals in animal feeds and willingness to pay (WTP) for insect-based feed (IBF) using a contingent valuation method. A household survey was conducted among 957 randomly selected farmers including: 409 poultry, 241 fish and 307 pig farmers in four counties in Kenya. Results of the study reveal that over 70 and 80% of poultry and fish farmers, respectively, are aware that insects can be used as a feed ingredient. In addition, over 60 and 75% of poultry and fish farmers, respectively, consider insects as a good component of feed. Poultry, pig and fish farmers interviewed accepted and showed willingness to pay for IBF. Regression analysis indicated that age, gender, education, marital status, distance to feed trader, awareness of insects as feed, attitude towards insects, acceptance of insect species, availability of agricultural inputs, use of commercial feeds, availability of training and market information had a significant influence on the WTP for IBF. Therefore, increased extension services to educate famers on the nutritional benefits of insect meals in animal feeds and existing market opportunities are expected to improve farmers' attitude towards utilization and consequently enhance WTP for IBF, which in return would significantly reduce the existing pressure on conventional fishmeal feed resources. Our findings provide the first insights into the market opportunities of including insect meals in the animal feed value chain in Kenya.