Korea's insect industry grows sharply over 4 years

Korea's insect industry grows sharply over 4 years

The South Korean market for insects has grown drastically over the past four years, indicating it could emerge as a promising future industry, a state think tank said Friday.

In a report, the Korea Rural Economic Institute estimated the size of the market at 313.9 billion won ($268 million) last year, up 90 percent from 168 billion won in 2011.

Last year insects were most used at local governments’ events, valued at 181.6 billion won. Events using insects included a butterfly festival in Hampyong, South Jeolla Province; a firefly festival in Muju, North Jeolla Province; and an insect bioexpo in Yecheon, North Gyeongsang Province.

The market for pet insects like rhinoceros beetles and stag beetles was estimated at between 37.2 billion won and 49.6 billion won, respectively, while that for pollen-carrying insects was 43.2 billion won.

Trading of edible insects and insects for animal feed was valued at 6 billion won each. About 5 billion won worth of insects were sold to be used as natural enemies against harmful insects, while 4.9 billion won worth of insects were sold for studying purposes and 2 to 3 billion won worth of bugs were traded to be used as medicine.

The institute said the use of insects for farming will largely increase and insects are expected to become good materials for high-protein and low-calorie food. Edible insects designated by the government include grasshoppers, pupa, grub and crickets.

There were 106 insect-rearing farms, and 17 processing and distributing companies across the country as of last year.

The institute said the markets for animal feed, edible insects and for environment protection have shown growth, while the portion of insects as pets and for studying purposes declined.

The think tank predicted the domestic insect market to reach up to 558.2 billion won in 2020.

Meanwhile, the government announced the legislation of a special law aimed at fostering the insect industry in 2010. In the following year, the agriculture ministry introduced a five-year road map to push the research and development of edible and cookable insects, and support farms that raise eligible species.

Source:  http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20160205000632

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