A programme organised by the agricultural organisation Inagro is offering grants of up to €40,000 for projects relating to using insects as food products.
The ValuSect programme uses a system of vouchers – valued at €10,000, €20,000 and €40,000 – to fund projects built around increasing the use of insects as food.
Western squeamish reactions aside, insects form part of the protein intake of populations around the world. They are nutritious, easy to maintain, give a remarkable nutritional return on resources consumed and are very environmentally friendly.
The programme concentrates on three types: meal worms, crickets and grasshoppers. The vouchers, meanwhile, can be spent on the services of the programme’s partners, who include the Welsh government and the university of Aberystwyth, Flanders Food, and Fontys university in Eindhoven, as well as the Irish food development authority Teagasc and the Belgian Insect Industry Foundation.
The programme is open to applications from food-related businesses in the north-west of Europe (Ireland, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and parts of France, Germany and the Netherlands) regardless of whether they are established enterprises or start-ups.
“Inagro is specialised in insect breeding,” said Carl Coudron, insect breeding expert at Inagro. “We will mainly be guiding producers with questions about the cultivation phase.”