Prepare to Eat Your Locusts! #eatlocust

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May 26, 2015

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Photo credit: Adma Matan/Wikimedia Commons

Being a loyal fan of Terrific Tuesdays with your best girlfriends or nyama choma with the boys goes a long way towards easing the stress of the week in Mombasa or Nairobi, but also comes at a price. Maybe your doctor has started to bring up your diet, maybe you’ve noticed the extra weight around your waist yourself. Either way, you are well aware that something is wrong. In today’s world, “cholesterol” has become a word that strikes fear (literally) into our hearts, only to be outdone by “Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission”. Fear not: the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) has a solution, and one that is available in plenty. Say it with us now- Locusts! … My locals might brush it aside with – ‘Lee waa kabajan’

In a joint effort between the United States Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service, ICIPE and the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology, the desert locust has been identified as having compounds that help lower cholesterol in humans. Known as phytosterols, these compounds are abundant in vegetables, and work to block the absorption of cholesterol in the human digestive system. This new study, however, has found that the tissue of the desert locust is chock-full of the same good stuff that can save you a lot of future agony in the name of heart disease related to lifestyle choices.

Most of us are of course familiar with locusts from another narrative: the proverbial cloud of destruction that has been known to descend upon and destroy every green thing in sight within minutes. Our version of locusts as airborne piranhas activity may be influenced by horror movies and religious tales, but it firmly rooted in reality. Here in Africa, grim scenes of locusts interrupting potential harvests of both cash and food crops alike have unfolded repeatedly. In economies relying so heavily on agriculture, this is the ultimate nightmare situation that has earned locusts a reputation as an enemy of progress. This, however, may be our chance to turn things around.

Photo credit: istolethetv / Flickr via Wikimedia Commons-

Photo credit: istolethetv / Flickr via Wikimedia Commons-

Readily available and even potentially farmed, locusts have been enjoyed as a delicacy across Africa and even Asia, known for their nutritious value. While we sheltered city folk may squirm at the thought, this new information may be just the push needed to take locusts into mainstream dining, more so for the health conscious. We being supply chain managers are of coursed compelled to view this through logistics-tinted glasses.

When it comes to turning something terrible to work in your favor, if you live in Mombasa or Nairobi, you have a lot of awful to work with. Are the roads flooded & impossible to do your regular freighting across? Get creative: look for alternative partners or transportation methods to help you beat the floods and introduce a new service to your portfolio. Recent spates of insecurity and instability can be an opportunity to venture into armored transports or other high security courier methods that offer citizens peace of mind. For larger companies, the buzzwords seem to be “graft” and dubious acquisitions: why not make the effort to make your company as transparent and dependable as the market needs if you want to win contracts or tenders?

We grow up hearing about clouds having silver linings, but in this case, the lining is brown and prone to mass destruction. Whether in business or in life, why run from a problem when you can spin it into good fortune? Why worry about your crops when can be preparing to bite down on a crunchy deep fried locust? Wishing you all a tasty week ahead… Cheers!


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