The insect farms of Thailand

Thai insects1Forget paddy farming or raising pigs, a new type of resource is available in the village of Khon Kaen, Thailand; crickets (and they go good with beer, supposedly). It’s the staple of which 52-year-old, Mali Nonthing, a resident of Khon Kaen, makes her living.

“The crickets are better than the pigs,” says Mali, who, two years, made the switch of farming mammals to harvesting insects. “We can sell the mature crickets every four weeks, unlike the pigs that we could only sell every five or six months. And even then we were never sure of a profit.”

Livestock has a large overhead, so it made sense for Mali to go from the transition of farm animals to crickets. And switches in the livestock trade aren’t just happening in Khon Kaen; if you were to go south of the village, you’d find the province of Maha Sarakham. There, 43-year-old Duangjai Ploykanha and her husband moved the cattle out of their two large sheds, filling them with cement pens that house crickets to be raised. The pens are rectangular and as large as a basketball court. In them, tens of thousands of crickets crawl around in layers of cardboard egg cartons.

“They are easier to take care of and the quality can be controlled,” said Duangjai. “We have money to pay for our daughter’s university education in Bangkok.”

In Thailand, there are among 20,000 registered cricket farms, with more than 220,000 rearing pens. Insect farming was first introduced in the mid-1990s, and has sense caught on to a cultural phenomenon of new taste in the livestock trade. Crickets are not the only insects ending up being farmed, but giant water bugs, grasshoppers, bamboo caterpillars, weaver ants, palmn weevil larvae, and silkworm pupae, which are all wildly available to feast on at Thailand street vendors.

The annual income of the insect livestock trade in Thailand is $30 million, with 7,500 tons of insects in production over the last six years.



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Forget paddy farming or raising pigs, a new type of resource is available in the village of Khon Kaen, Thailand; crickets (and they go good with beer, supposedly). It’s the staple of which 52-year-old, Mali Nonthing, a resident of Khon Kaen, makes her living. “The crickets are better than the pigs,” says Mali, who, two years, made the switch of farming mammals to harvesting insects. “We can sell the mature crickets every four weeks, unlike the pigs that we could only sell every five or six months. And even then we were never sure of a profit.” Livestock has a...

Thai insects1Forget paddy farming or raising pigs, a new type of resource is available in the village of Khon Kaen, Thailand; crickets (and they go good with beer, supposedly). It’s the staple of which 52-year-old, Mali Nonthing, a resident of Khon Kaen, makes her living.

“The crickets are better than the pigs,” says Mali, who, two years, made the switch of farming mammals to harvesting insects. “We can sell the mature crickets every four weeks, unlike the pigs that we could only sell every five or six months. And even then we were never sure of a profit.”

Livestock has a large overhead, so it made sense for Mali to go from the transition of farm animals to crickets. And switches in the livestock trade aren’t just happening in Khon Kaen; if you were to go south of the village, you’d find the province of Maha Sarakham. There, 43-year-old Duangjai Ploykanha and her husband moved the cattle out of their two large sheds, filling them with cement pens that house crickets to be raised. The pens are rectangular and as large as a basketball court. In them, tens of thousands of crickets crawl around in layers of cardboard egg cartons.

“They are easier to take care of and the quality can be controlled,” said Duangjai. “We have money to pay for our daughter’s university education in Bangkok.”

In Thailand, there are among 20,000 registered cricket farms, with more than 220,000 rearing pens. Insect farming was first introduced in the mid-1990s, and has sense caught on to a cultural phenomenon of new taste in the livestock trade. Crickets are not the only insects ending up being farmed, but giant water bugs, grasshoppers, bamboo caterpillars, weaver ants, palmn weevil larvae, and silkworm pupae, which are all wildly available to feast on at Thailand street vendors.

The annual income of the insect livestock trade in Thailand is $30 million, with 7,500 tons of insects in production over the last six years.



Support ASEAN news

Investvine has been a consistent voice in ASEAN news for more than a decade. From breaking news to exclusive interviews with key ASEAN leaders, we have brought you factual and engaging reports – the stories that matter, free of charge.

Like many news organisations, we are striving to survive in an age of reduced advertising and biased journalism. Our mission is to rise above today’s challenges and chart tomorrow’s world with clear, dependable reporting.

Support us now with a donation of your choosing. Your contribution will help us shine a light on important ASEAN stories, reach more people and lift the manifold voices of this dynamic, influential region.

$
Personal Info

Donation Total: $10.00

 

 

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