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In West Africa, as in many parts of the world, livestock and fish farming suffer from the increasing cost of feed, especially protein ingredients, which are hardly available for village poultry farming and small-scale fish farming. Insects, which are a natural food source of poultry and fish and are rich in protein and other valuable nutrients, can be used to improve animal diets, a practice which is now strongly promoted by the FAO as a tool for poverty alleviation. This paper reviews practices and research on the use of insects as animal feed in West Africa and the perspectives to further develop the techniques, in particular for smallholder farmers and fish farmers. The most promising insects are flies, especially the house fly (Musca domestica) (Diptera Muscidae) and the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) (Diptera Stratiomyiidae), which can be mass reared on-farm for domestic use, in small production units at the community or industrial level. Flies have the advantage over most other insects of developing on freely available waste material and could even contribute to rural sanitation. Termites are traditionally used by smallholder farmers to feed village poultry. While their mass production is problematic, methods to enhance populations on-farm and facilitate collection can be developed. In any case, new methods will need to demonstrate their economic profitability, social acceptability and environmental sustainability
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