While grasshoppers and white ants are commonly eaten in Uganda and considered a delicacy in most areas, crickets as a food are unheard of despite their being a super-food packed with nutritional value. Crickets are not only crunchy and tasty, they are highly nutritious as they are rich in proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
”The purpose of this project is to tackle the issue of nutritional security as opposed to food security with crickets being an alternative source. ” said B-Space’s Managing Director Peter Masaaba at the official opening the two consultative workshop organized by the 2 SCALE Consortium through B-Space Ltd on 20th August at Brovad Hotel in Masaka.He further explained that whereas Uganda is blessed with food, quantity as opposed to quality is what is traditionally consumed.
Being the market leader in the grasshopper business, Masaka District central Uganda, was the first choice for the Flying Food project which was piloted in 2012 and the obvious choice for the 2015 consultative workshop . The two day workshop drew stakeholders in the cricket production sector including District Officials , Consumers, Cricket farmers, Entomologists, Business men and women.
In November of 2014 B-Space Limited conducted market research as a flying food on behalf of BoP InnovationCenter (BoPInc) . The exercise involved testing of the cricket product in it’s different forms amongst consumers in Masaka, as a snack, mixed in snacks and in sauces like beans and groundnut sauces.
Led by Hilda Karamagi, a Marketing Consultant with B-Space Ltd, the workshop comprised of group discussions, lively debates , brain storming sessions and presentations with the aim of generating information from the participants who possess firsthand knowledge, experiences and expertise in crickets as a food.
By the close of the workshop, the participants were able to profile the ideal cricket consumer and the proposed cricket product. This was achieved by dividing the participants into two groups for each assignment. The proposed cricket products included the product name, branding, packaging and pricing. This information will be used to develop the final marketing strategy.
During the final day’s review of the workshop expectations, participants expressed their satisfaction at the deliberations made during the activities. Annet Namata , a business woman and cricket farmer from Masaka said ” I have attended a number of workshops and this is one of the best. It was unique because we have developed solutions as a team and i now know the direction in which the project is headed”
Godfrey Bwogi an Assistant District Entomologist who frequently works with Masaka farmers explained that he had received practical skills from the workshop which he will readily apply to his work saying, ”I have learnt a lot, like segmentation, planning for a new product….i now have a clear focus of what somebody can do. This workshop is not only going to help us identify markets but will also enable us to train farmers on how to market their products ”.
While closing the workshop, BoP Inc’s East and Central Africa’s Regional Representative Frank Kitonga, commended the participants on their passion and commitment towards the Flying food program. He reaffirmed BoP Inc’s commitment to the Flying Food Project in Uganda saying,” Until the crickets get to the market, our job will not be done here’’.
He also informed the participants that once the information from the workshop was compiled and combined with the research insights, a marketing strategy would be developed which will be presented to the participants and relevant stakeholders.
BoP Inc is an inclusive business accelerator headquartered in The Netherlands with the mandate to develop, learn about and accelerate inclusive businesses that serve the demand of low-income groups at the base of the pyramid with affordable, quality products and services. BoPInc is one of the three organisations in the 2SCALE consortium, the largest agribusiness incubator in Africa, with an objective to develop competitive agro-food industries that are targeting low-income markets. In Uganda, the 2SCALE consortium is establishing a value chain for cricket as a food product
BoP Innovation Centre is responsible for market identification and introduction of crickets as a food to the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) market. With no offices in Uganda, BoP Inc contracted B-Space Ltd to carry out a market survey and develop a market strategy with the intention of entry of crickets into the Ugandan flying food market. B-Space limited is a Ugandan social business enterprise that focuses on solutions for the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) also known as low income earners.
Other partners in the Consortia include Innovation for Life (TNO) which is tasked with the development of the cricket food mixes fit for consumption by the medium and low income market while ICCO-Cooperation supports the cricket production and value chain development .The program aims to cover the central districts of Masaka, Mpigi and Kampala with the goal of improving rural livelihoods, food and nutrition security in Uganda.