Akokono farming gaining prominence in Ghana
By and large, the increasing human population, coupled with commercial activities and settlements, is having dire consequences on forest cover and farmlands that insects and livestock thrive on.
Since the Stone Age, keeping animals for food had always been livestock – cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, rabbit, poultry, horses, donkeys, mules among others for their milk, meat and eggs, but little is known of insects farming.
As human settlements are severely reducing farmlands for rearing animals drastically, farming of insects like the palm weevil larvae has been gaining lots of prominence in recent times.
Insects are used as a source of protein in some cultures across the world, but few farmers, like Akokono House, in Ghana are engaged in this type of farming.
Abena Amponsah-Agyekum, Sales Officer with Akokono House, told The Chronicle Business that some insects have been consumed globally for millennia now, since they are delicious and nutritious.
She said the palm weevil larvae, locally called Akokono, is a great source of protein, and also easy to get as compared with livestock that take months and years to reach maturity for consumption.
Akokono is really not sold on the market, as they are taken on the farm from dead palm trees which palm wine has been extracted from.
She added that palm weevil larvae, crickets and termites are the most known insects consumed in many cultures, adding, “the problem is when migration came and people moved to the cities, they could not get to eat it (palm weevil larvae). They only got it when they went to the farm, and even that is after a palm tree has fallen.”
She reiterated that research had shown that palm weevil larvae has a higher protein content than even eggs, and more importantly, they are easy to breed, asking, “how many cattle can feed the whole nation. It will take a number of years for one cow to grow.”
Madam Amponsah-Agyekum added that “Akokono House is here to tackle challenge of availability, since most people who would want to patronise the larvae are currently in the cities.”
“What we do is that we use technology and tradition to farm them (palm weevil larvae). We don’t use the palm tree, but we have found out what makes them to grow in the palm and we give it to the larvae, thus they feed on it to grow. And, in this case, we can get access to it every time. Like I said, we do not have to wait for palm tree to be felled, and how many palm trees can be felled in a day?” she queried.
She said the market has been amazing, and they have been operating for the past two years and hopes to expand their production reach to other parts of the country, other than Kumasi.