Sancheong rising as a hub of edible insect industry in the nation: Sancheong Jirisan Industry Insect Cooperative

신태섭 기자l승인2021.07.29l수정2021.07.29 09:45

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▲ Sancheong Jirisan Industry Insect Cooperative / President Yoon Chul-ho

(PowerKorea) The Sancheong Jirisan Industry Insect Cooperative rolled up sleeve to promote production and distribution of edible insects in the region. For this, Sancheong County organized training programs for local edible insect farmhouses at its training center. The cooperative is currently working on darkling ground beetle to be made into products alongside marketing. 

The cooperative and the county have secured 240 million won ($208,968) from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs at the 2021 Insect Industry Support. Edible insect industry is received as an alternative food industry for the future.

Sancheong County has had a long history of fame for clean air, clean water and medicinal herbs. It is the birthplace of Joseon dynasty physician Heo Jun who wrote the famous medical book Dongui Bogam. In the book, Jun wrote 95 kinds of insects that can be used for medicinal purposes. 

“Edible insects are rich in protein, unsaturated fatty acid and minerals. They have high nutritional value and high reproductive rate. Edible insects are received as a promising future food globally and the cooperative is running various training and marketing programs for insect farmers to grow their productivity and sales” says Yoon Chul-ho, President of Sancheong Jirisan Industry Insect Cooperative

First started with farmhouses in 5 areas, the cooperative now has 12 member houses who are cultivating darkling ground beetle and making and selling its products under the brand name Lidemi. Lidemi Nurunggee (scorched rice), for example, is made of 11% of the beetle powder and 89% of rice. 

Gangnam Severance Hospital professor Park Jun-sung and the nutrition team carried out a research in cooperation with Rural Development Administration research team on the beetle powder in 2019: patients who ate the beetle powder after cancer surgery showed 1.4 times more calorie and 1.5 times more protein consumption than those who did not eat the beetle powder; the muscle and lean mass also increased by 3.7% and 4.8% respectively; more than 90% patients kept the nutritive conditions while the control group showed 57.1% at the PG-SGA result; the intake patients also showed 16.7% more activity rate of NK cell and 7.5% of Cytotoxic T cell.

Encouraged by these results, the cooperative is soon to release a number of new products: a protein shake in July or August this summer. It contained the pure protein of the beetles by 65% with a variety of grains and it is consumed by mixing it with water; a capsuled oil that contains omega 3, 6 and 9 plus which is known to prevent dementia and help anti-aging; others include organic rice snack and chocolate crunch. 

The cooperative uses its 66,115 square meter land to cultivate products and to run activity programs and the president Yoon is planning to open it in September this year in cooperation with schools and educational institutes. The activity programs will include an organism tunnel, photo zone, animal farm and footbath. 

“If we secure stable selling channels and latest production equipment, our business will make a great progress and turn the county as the hub of Korean edible insect industry. So it might be really helpful if the government provides necessary support” says Yoon.

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