Excellent future food: cicada larva

김태인 기자l승인2020.07.27l수정2020.07.27 13:50

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▲ Changwon Cicada Larva & Food / CEO Kim Ki-tae

UN's World Population Prospects 2015 predicts that the number of people on earth would increase to 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.6 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100. Among many worries that involve this over population issue, some experts point out shortage of food as the severest. 

Changwon Cicada Larva & Food

Kim Ki-tae, CEO of Changwon Cicada Larva & Food, used to work for a automotive company. Having worked for 13 years in making parts, he got tired of his daily routine and decided to try farming 4 years ago. 

Recommended by his trustworthy friend, Kim focused on cicada larva for unburden-some initial capital and a potential it would benefit. Back then, there was no standardized cicada larva farming methods so Kim had to do many a legwork to gather information. He then came to know the Green Environment Technology Institute.

He took the 140 hour course instantly and finished successfully under professional instruction of his mentor Dr. Lee Young-chul. Having obtained knowledge and skill, he asked his parents to spare a patch of their land to start the business in earnest. 

As is often the case for many novices, he had to have a bitter taste many times at the initial stage of the farming. Tighten his belt again and again, he finally built his own knowhow.

"I spent many nights and days in finding what was wrong and how I can improve it. My hard work finally paid back and I'm now growing 100% Korean cicada larva in immaculate environment and make it into products on order for maximum freshness" says Kim.

He farms only the larva of protaetia brevitarsis seulensis to make products in raw, powder and extract. It is encouraging for Kim that cicada larva recently has become known to people that it is good for blood circulation, recovery of strength and immunity.

Kim's method of growing cicada larva is unique as he does not give food for 5 days in order to remove the unpleasant smell. "The food cicada larva eats is fermented sawdust. In other words, how well the farmers can do properly the fasting procedure can decide the taste of cicada larva."

It takes 4 months for a larva to become an imago with rich protein. Caterpillars with water drained contain 58g protein per 100g. It is 100 times more than chicken breast (23~25g). An ancient South Korean medicine book Dongui Bogam records caterpillars are good for liver, heart, eye sight, physical strength and many more.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) listed caterpillar in the promising future food May 2013 for rich protein and mineral. It is estimated that the market in South Korea would jump to 500 billion won (418 Million USD) at the end of 2020 from 300 billion won in 2015. 

"It is also notable that the FAO praised caterpillars as 'little cattle'. So I have his ambition to grow my cicada larva to be used in various food and other applicable industries while at the same time to push forward my zeal to foster talented future cicada larva farmers."


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