Meet Ghana’s Foodpreneur Bringing Nutritious, Affordable Palm Weevil Larvae to West Africa

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Shobhita Soor

Insect farming is an innovative solution to increasing protein demands across Africa. Shobhita Soor, founder of Kumasi-based Legendary Foods, is leading the charge with her commercial palm weevil larvae farm that provides a nutritious, delicious, and affordable protein source all year round.

Shobhita Soor

With protein deficiencies plaguing many rural communities, Soor’s palm weevil larvae deliver essential amino acids, healthy fats, vitamin B12, and minerals like zinc, iron, potassium, and phosphorus—at a fraction of the cost of traditional meat sources.

palm weevil larvae food in Ghana

As African populations boom, finding sustainable ways to deliver adequate nutrition is paramount. Livestock farming strains land and water resources, but insect farming has a much lower environmental impact. Palm weevil larvae can be raised on abundant agricultural byproducts like cassava peels, making them a viable protein for the future.

Soor’s Inspiring Entrepreneurial Journey

Soor’s foray into entomophagy (human insect consumption) began in 2013 when she co-founded Aspire Food Group and won the prestigious $1 million Hult Prize for their innovative business model to produce palm weevil larvae. This catalyzed Soor’s passion for utilizing insects to enhance food security in Ghana.

palm weevil larvae food in Africa

In 2020, she founded Legendary Foods as an independent entity, with Aspire as a minority shareholder. Based in Kumasi, Legendary Foods runs a commercial insect farm and Akokono House restaurant, where Soor sells value-added larvae products like cookie snacks, pepper sauce, and stew. The restaurant provides a welcoming place for customers to taste larvae if they’ve never tried them before.

In 2023, Legendary Foods was adjudged the overall winner of the 10th edition of the Sankalp Africa Summit Awards.

Legendary Foods was adjudged the overall winner of the 10th edition of the Sankalp Africa Summit Awards.

Palm Weevil: Delivering Nutrition and Livelihoods

Palm weevil larvae present an exceptional nutrition and business opportunity for Ghana. Unlike costly animal proteins in the region, larvae can be produced locally at a large scale to meet growing demands. Harvesting requires minimal infrastructure and provides income generation for small-scale farmers – especially women who face additional financial barriers.

palm weevil larvae food in Ghana

“Insects allow us to build sustainable protein production systems that are realistic and relevant in the African context,” explains Soor. “With very little, communities can produce a highly nutritious product that fits within cultural food preferences.”

Soor continues to break barriers surrounding entomophagy and prove the viability of insect protein businesses in Ghana. As climate change and population pressures amplify, innovative food leaders like Soor will pave the way towards more sustainable food systems in Africa.

Also read: Health benefits of moringa by Ella The Dietitian

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