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The Asian Reporter
Pacific Northwest News q Volume 24 Number 17 q September 1, 2014 q www.asianreporter.com
Edible insects a boon
to Thailand’s farmers
Man with piercings
denied entry to Dubai
CRISPY CRITTERS. Boontham Puthachat (not seen), 47, holds a two-month-old cricket he’s raising at his farm in Thanon Nang Klarn village in Nakhon Ratchasima
province, northeastern Thailand. Boontham’s family is one of 30 in his village raising mounds of the profitable crisp and crunchy critters in their backyards, satisfying a big
domestic appetite for edible insects, and a slowly emerging international one in countries where most diners would rather starve than sample fried grasshoppers or omelets
studded with red ant eggs. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)
By Denis D. Gray
The Associated Press
Friend or foe?
HANON NANG KLARN, Thailand
— Depending solely on the rains to
either yield a good rice crop or leave
their fields dry and barren, farmers in the
village of Thanon Nang Klarn in north-
eastern Thailand, the country’s poorest
region, led a precarious and backbreaking
existence. Then they discovered bugs.
At Boontham Puthachat’s home, six con-
crete pens seethe with crickets munching
on chicken feed, pumpkins, and other
vegetables — treats to fatten them before
they are harvested and sold to hungry
humans increasingly eager for a different
type of dining experience.
“We haven’t become rich, but now we
have enough to better take care of our
families,” Boontham says proudly. “We are
Boontham’s family is one of 30 in the
village raising mounds of the profitable
crisp and crunchy critters in their back-
yards, satisfying a big domestic appetite
for edible insects, and a slowly emerging
international one in countries where most
diners would rather starve than sample
fried grasshoppers or omelets studded
with red ant eggs.
Replicated across the country, these
enterprises have spawned a multimillion-
dollar industry with more than 20,000
registered farms, most of them small-scale
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household operations, according to the
U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization
(FAO). Averaging an annual output of
7,500 tons in recent years, Thailand leads
the world in producing insects for the
While it may still seem exotic, if not
outright repulsive, to many in the western
world, the FAO points out that insects
have long been an integral part of human
diets in nearly 100 countries, particularly
in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, with
more than 1,600 species consumed.
In China, the use of insects for food and
medicine goes back more than 5,000 years.
In recent times, cockroach farming has
Continued on page 4
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