A group of scientists called the Malabo Montpellier Panel released a report in May that encouraged Africa to develop a “sustainable bio-economy” through innovative techniques such as making muffins and meatloaf from flies.
The report, titled Nature’s Solutions: Policy Innovations and Opportunities for the Bioeconomy in Africa, is the latest installment in the bizarrely persistent environmentalist craze to trick people into eating bugs. Waves of articles in the mainstream media about the value of insects as a “sustainable” source of protein appear every year, usually accompanied by complaints about the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by the farming industry. and speak later cattle itself.
For example, the New York Times touted “The Joy of Cooking (Insects)” in February 2022. Time mmagazine Explain “How humans eating bugs could help save the planet” exactly one year ago.
The Malabo Montpellier Panel argued in May that “rising food, fuel and fertilizer costs, as well as the longer-term impacts of [Chinese coronavirus] and climate change” make Africa the ideal laboratory for creating a new kind of continent-wide “bio-economy” that could feed its booming population and create millions of jobs.
Some of these proposals are relatively modest, such as developing better methods of harvesting popular fruits and vegetables, while others may prove to be a harder sell, such as hammering swarms of lake flies into “a range of edible foods like crackers, muffins, meatloaves, and sausages.
“In terms of bioenergy, coffee husks and pulp are turned into biogas, and fruit waste is turned into a bio-alkanol gel that burns without smoke or soot. This makes indoor cooking both more environmentally friendly and less harmful to health, especially for women who bear the bulk of this responsibility,” the panel explained.
The concept of “bio-economy” can be quite broad, as it encompasses a good part of what could more prosaically be called agriculture. Bioeconomy strategies generally encourage the use of new technologies, disapprove of fossil fuels, and emphasize the notion of “sustainability” by using plants and insects instead of animal products.
Africa’s abundant flora and fauna make it a popular test ground for bioeconomy theories, especially in the wake of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, widely seen as a golden opportunity to control and “reset” existing economic systems.
The pandemic has also caused serious problems for global shipping, which are still not fully resolved. Bioeconomies are theoretically more self-sufficient because the necessary plants and insects are harvested locally.
Reuters On Wednesday, South Africa and Uganda were cited as examples of successful bioeconomy pilot programs:
South Africa, for example, estimated that its bioeconomy accounted for 8% of its gross domestic product and created up to 16 million jobs between 2007 and 2020, around 70% of them in agribusiness and the agricultural.
One of its most popular products is a mosquito repellent candle made from the oils of a native plant and now available at major retailers across the country.
Uganda is one of the few African countries to have developed a national bioeconomy plan, which targets food, agriculture and traditional medicines, while Namibia is working with the Food Organization of the United Nations and agriculture to develop its first national bioeconomy strategy.
“Sustainability and adaptation to climate change require more judicious use of biological and ecological resources. This includes how these resources could be harnessed to generate innovative products that help mitigate climate change, conserve resources and protect biodiversity, while creating new, well-paying job opportunities,” he told Reuters. the co-president of the Malabo Montpellier Panel, Ousmane Badiane.
However, Reuters grumbled that even these bioeconomy success stories tend to be small projects set aside in “protected areas without real investment,” rather than massive regional transformations into radically different sustainable economic systems.
The impetus behind much of this bio-economic experimentation in Africa is the lingering apprehension within the climate change community that Africa’s vast and growing population will demand the same standard of living as the Western world, consuming huge amounts of fossil fuels in the process.
Some African leaders have understood this and are a bit upset by the presumption that fighting climate change means they have to live forever in low-energy, insect-eating poverty.
The UK Guardian noted some backsliding on Tuesday in the face of demands by “experts” that Africa must “embrace renewable energy and forego exploration of its potentially lucrative gas fields to avoid climate catastrophe”:
The gas issue in Africa is likely to be a flashpoint at the UN Cop27 climate summit in November in Egypt. Robinson’s views, first expressed in an interview with the Guardian, have sparked a row at the UN climate talks in Bonn, where countries have held meetings over the past fortnight as part of preparatory negotiations for COP27.
Several African countries are believed to want to use COP27 to advocate for the continent to be allowed to exploit its gas, taking advantage of the fossil fuel windfall that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Egypt is understanding, with Finance Minister Mohamed Maait recently telling an audience in the City of London that poor countries should not be “punished”.
“We will continue to fight, we have fossil fuels that must be exploited. At one time, the companies planned to mine coal from Niger. But with these measures, no bank is ready to commit. We are being punished,” Nigerian President Mohamed Bazoum complained at a business forum this week.
“Let the African continent be allowed to exploit its natural resources,” agreed Senegalese President Macky Sall. “It is frankly unbelievable that those who have been exploiting oil and its derivatives for over a century are preventing African countries from reaping the value of their resources.”
The debate was summed up in an exchange last week between the UN climate envoy and former Irish President Mary Robinson, who suggested that Africans should be allowed to tap into their gas reserves for electricity and clean kitchen, and climatologist Mohamed Adow, who replied that Africa “cannot rely on the failed systems of the last 200 years.
“We need to skip our thinking and invest in distributed renewable energy systems that won’t poison our rivers, pollute our air, choke our lungs, and benefit only a few,” Adow insisted. .
Africans can’t help but notice that these “failed systems of the past 200 years” have brought incredible prosperity and improved human health to the rest of the planet, and economic powerhouses like China are happily burning mountains of coal to fuel their factories while Africans are invited to squeeze, cook oil with rotten fruit and make muffins with lake flies.