A “Superfood” in the truest sense, crickets are an incredibly high source of healthy fats, protein, and essential micronutrients including: zinc, calcium, iron, vitamin B12, and many more.
Entomophagy, the consumption of insects, has roots in Cambodian culture dating back thousands of years. Crickets, beetles, grasshoppers, larvae, spiders and many other insects are enjoyed by millions throughout the kingdom on a daily basis.
With no cultural bias towards eating insects, and access to a large regional market demand, Cambodian cricket farmers are uniquely positioned to be involved in both a nutritional and financial windfall.
Crickets are relatively easy to rear, they reproduce very quickly (6 weeks from egg to harvest), and occupy very little space compared to traditional livestock.
In 2017 ACK started with setting up a model cricket farm just outside of Phnom Penh that will be used for demonstration and educational purposes.
In 2018, in addition to providing technical support to existing farmers, small scale insect rearing stations will be set up at several new partner farms. The number of farms will gradually increase to hundreds of rearing stations throughout the country.
In 2017 ACK also established a commercial processing center and a social enterprise Changrit Kamleang, for creating shelf stable dried cricket products for sale to the Cambodian marketplace.
When cricket production at our partner farms exceeds the consumption of farmers themselves, they can immediately sell to this processing center at a guaranteed market rate.
ACK Partner Farms Business Model
The business model of ACK combines the common consumption of insects with inclusive business. Crickets will be produced and consumed by rural farmers living at or below the poverty level. The reared crickets that are not consumed will be purchased from them and processed into products that will be available on local markets.
To make the project successful, an improved value chain needs to be set up from monitoring the quality of rearing and processing to marketing and sales, as well as the supply chain general logistics.
The goal is to have the entire rearing and processing as well as the social enterprise sales chain established and sustainable for years to come.