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How Insect Science Can Revolutionise Global Agriculture

An estimated 2 billion people consume insects worldwide, and yet the appeal – and commercial availability – of this foodstock remains very limited, especially in the West. With more than 2,000 edible insect species on this planet, packed with high-quality protein, amino acids, vitamins, calcium, zinc, iron, oils, antioxidants and sterols, insects represent a largely untapped source of nutrients, for humans and animals alike. Segenet Kelemu is the Director General and CEO of the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) in Nairobi, Kenya. As a molecular plant pathologist with first-hand experience of the challenges and successes associated with African agriculture, she focuses on developing innovative and accessible solutions to problems caused by insects and plant diseases. At Falling Walls, Segenet will explain why insects – despite being the source of many grave problems in farming and human health – should also be seen as part of the solution to both improve nutrition and to tackle food scarcity and the negative environmental effects of food industries. She will provide compelling arguments as to why, with better ways to make their consumption more mainstream, insects will soon be enjoyed as a healthy standard staple all over the globe.

Segenet Kelemu

International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology

Segenet Kelemu is the Director General and CEO of the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) in Nairobi, Kenya. After several years applying cutting-edge bioscience in the US and Latin America, Segenet returned to Africa in 2007 to contribute to the continent’s development. As a molecular plant pathologist with first-hand experience of the challenges and successes associated with African agriculture, she focuses on developing innovative and accessible solutions to problems caused by insects and plant disease, including genetic engineering and biopesticides. Within the framework of icipe she strives to tackle the interlinked problems of poverty, poor health, low agricultural productivity and environmental degradation.

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