The once-every-17-year cicada hatching cycle inundating life along the United States’ East Coast this year is something one researcher is trying to reproduce in Madagascar with crickets — every day — to fight malnutrition.

One-third of Malagasy households lack adequate food at any given time and nearly half of children are malnourished. Families cannot access affordable protein-rich foods and are forbidden from hunting the unique animal biodiversity endemic to the island.

The practice of eating insects, known as entomophagy, is a centuries-old custom in the island-nation of Madagascar. Confirming that occasional entomophagy continues today throughout rural Madagascar is a significant result of scientist Andrianjaka Ravelomanana’s research, funded by USAID’s Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) program. Findings from his research confirm that his efforts to commercialize cricket protein for mass consumption has great promise.

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Andrianjaka Ravelomanana (2nd from right) describes how crickets are bred and grown,
USAID / Brent Wells
USAID in Action Madagascar