Farmers and crofters are invited to find out more about insect farming at a free online event next week.
Zero Waste Scotland is hosting a webinar on Tuesday to provide an insight into the insect farming sector.
It is one of three virtual events being organised by the environmental organisation – two further sessions on protein production and the circular bioeconomy will take place on November 19 and 26.
“Insect farming could become the next big thing – a way to plug the predicted protein gap that has real potential to bring Scotland’s carbon footprint down at the same time,” said Zero Waste Scotland’s bioeconomy specialist, Dr William Clark.
“It’s also open to everyone, from householders to smallholders, existing food producers looking to diversify to companies in the bioeconomy sector, and entrepreneurs with an eye for innovation.
“That’s because it doesn’t require lots of space – insect farms can range in size from a small shed or a few shipping containers to industrial-scale feed mills.
“You need to know how to look after them but, in all cases, you can produce significant volumes of sustainable protein using a fraction of the resources.”
He said this month’s free events, which will be delivered in partnership with Dutch insect specialist company New Generation Nutrition (NGN), would explain the benefits of arming insects like mealworm and black soldier fly.
He said insects could meet growing demand for protein and play a valuable role as an alternative foodstock for fish, poultry and pigs, and even as an ingredient for pet food.
“In addition, insect farming could help us add value to some of the food waste generated in Scotland,” added Dr Clark.
“That’s because insects can be fed on surplus produce from arable farms, supermarkets and bakeries, on everything from broccoli to crisps. The exoskeletons can be used as a bioplastic, the oils are a useful feed supplement, and even the manure can be used as a biofertiliser.”
He encouraged anyone with an interest in insect farming to sign up to the events. Details of the first event are here and information about the other two is available here.