*** DEBUG END ***

Charity ‘bacon-bug’ project set to feed communities in Madagascar

11 March 2022


An adult sakondry bacon bug, which is rich in protein

An adult sakondry bacon bug, which is rich in protein

A SMALL insect nicknamed the “bacon bug” is being farmed in parts of Madagascar to provide vital nutrients for people facing famine.

The high-protein sakondry bug, which is a hopping insect with a long proboscis, gained its nickname because of its smoky, bacon-like taste. It naturally colonises native bean species, and a project run by a UK-based charity is now helping communities that are suffering the highest levels of malnutrition to develop harvestable insect colonies to provide vital nutrients.

Regions of Madagascar are experiencing what the United Nations has described as the world’s first famine caused by climate change.

Last year, the country experienced its worst drought for 40 years. Already this year, the island has been struck by three tropical cyclones and a tropical storm. About one million people are believed to be facing famine, many of them children under five.

The charity SEED is helping with emergency relief, but also hopes to help communities to build climate resilience through projects such as this one.

The managing director of SEED, Mark Jacobs, said that its project could provide a local, resilient source of food for some communities. The bug was already eaten by many people when they could find it, but it has not been farmed before.

Communities are now being trained to establish harvestable insect colonies.

Existing work demonstrates that sakondry can be cheaply cultivated in remote areas with limited infrastructure, providing high levels of nutrients often lacking in Malagasy diets, the charity says.

SEED MADAGASCARCooked sakondry bacon bugs in a bowl

The project also hopes to relieve pressure on the biodiversity of the island, which is under threat from deforestation, by increasing reliance on natural resources.

Mr Jacobs said: “Any resilience programme can’t just rely on one source of food or income, and the bacon-bug project is only one part of what we’re doing. SEED’s sustainable livelihoods programmes enable people in food-insecure communities to increase both their food and financial resilience, and we’re also helping with rural bee-keeping, a reed-weaving co-operative, sustainable management of lobster fishing, and an embroidery co-operative, Stitch Sainte Luce.

“We hope this combination of projects will help with recovery, and build a resilient future for those on the island.”

After the planting of the host plant’s seeds, which are also an edible bean species, sakondry colonies take about six or eight weeks to arrive, and can be harvested about one month later.

To find out more about SEED, or to donate, visit madagascar.co.uk

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events

Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards


Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

tickets available



Festival of Faith and Literature

28 February - 2 March 2025

The festival programme is soon to be announced sign up to our newsletter to stay informed about all festival news.

Festival website


ViSIt our Events page for upcoming and past events 

Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)