They did it under cover of darkness: mothers, fathers, grandparents, children. Only at night are the locusts still and silent, their thick, yellow bodies roosting on whatever trees, crops, and grasses they haven’t already devoured. That’s when families of Kenyan farmers would spring into action, filling sack after burlap sack with swarms of the sleeping bugs.
Since January 2020, against the backdrop of the global pandemic, locusts have been quietly consuming staple crops like wheat and sorghum in East Africa, Yemen, Iran, and Iraq, layering plague upon plague and signalling the future in which climate change makes these swarms more common.
But instead of throwing up their hands, a team of Kenyan entrepreneurs got busy: following the swarms, mobilizing and paying nearby farmers to harvest them, and then grinding them into a protein powder to be sold as feed for livestock. The team of eight, who work for the Kenya-based regenerative agriculture company The Bug Picture, employed 180 harvesters who collected a total of 4.3 tons of locusts over the course of a two-month pilot. The initiative has both offered local farmers a crucial source of... Read more