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Should we eat Insects?

Could eating more insects help reduce malnutrition? We head to Burkina Faso in West Africa to meet the people turning caterpillars into a sustainable food source.

For most people the idea of chewing on a caterpillar or tucking into a tarantula is pretty unpalatable. Yet according to the United Nations, some two billion people around the world consume insects regularly. This prompted World Service listener Saman from Pakistan to ask the BBC CrowdScience team “are insects a serious food source?”

To tackle this question, we head to Burkina Faso in West Africa where shea caterpillars are an important part of the local diet in a place where food security is low and malnutrition is high.

Here we follow scientist Charlotte Payne as she tries to crack the tricky science behind the caterpillar’s life cycle and see how local entrepreneur Kahitouo Hien is trying to change lives and reduce malnutrition with edible caterpillars.

Do you have a question we can turn into a programme? Email us at

Presenter: Anand Jagatia
Producer: Louisa Field

(Image: Bowl of cooked Caterpillars. Credit: BBC/Anand Jagatia)

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27 minutes

Last on

Mon 10 Apr 2017 13:32GMT


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