Would you like to work with insects? Insect farming is a growing industry. Developed nations like Japan, the Netherlands and the United States of America are farming insects as mini-livestock because they are an efficient protein source to produce, have high nutrient value and can be used to improve future food security.
South Africa has a rich history of using lots of different edible insects which are considered by many as a cultural delicacy. Advertising has influenced us to perceive insects as disease-carriers and crop destroyers, however, it is important to learn about the positive impact of insects on people’s health and the economy. Insects play a large role in food security and nutrition, pollination, soil enrichment, and the green economy.
Bianca Mkhize has a Masters degree in Tourism and Hospitality. Through the North-West University Bianca is doing a Ph.D. on insect harvesting and opportunities in tourism. Her aim is to increase tourist experiences of insects in the North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces of South Africa by showing how these insects are known and used traditionally. She hopes that her research can increase revenue in rural, poverty-stricken areas and motivate communities to conserve nature.
There are various career paths in the insect industry. Check them out below:
Entomologists study insects. This is a fascinating field investigating the diversity, life cycles and behavior of insects. Insects produce unique substances such as chemical defense sprays, attractive pheromones (perfumes), dyes, honey, anti-microbial propolis, paper, and wax.
Ecotourism guides link visitors to the environment and to local communities through real-life experiences like collecting insects for food. This type of tourism ensures that people from different places can interact with each other and local people can benefit from sharing their traditional knowledge.
Environmental educators teach people (both children and adults) about sustainable use to ensure that the resource is not depleted. They would encourage farmers not to use harmful pesticides but rather bait pests from their crops. Homeowners can also make a difference by having the insect’s food plants in their garden.
This article was developed in partnership with The North West University and the National Research Foundation
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This work is based on the research supported by the National Research Foundation. The Grantholder acknowledges that opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in any publication generated by the NRF supported research is that of the author(s), and that the NRF accepts no liability whatsoever in this regard.
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If animals and plants are your "thing" – There are millions of species to study, and millions more to discover. Imagine discovering a species that was thought to be extinct. Animal lovers, bird chasers or tree huggers around the world will know your name!
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Gone are the days when scientists were seen as nerds with white coats and thick-rimmed glasses. Engineers are no longer only big men with hard hats, getting their hands dirty! Scientists and engineers are from all walks of life and are not confined by race, gender, wealth, culture or background. Although they work hard, they also play sport, make music, or play computer games to relax. Others write bestselling books that can be understood by anyone. Some start successful businesses or use scientific discovery to change people’s lives.
Did you know that South African scientists and engineers developed a high-tech laser machine, using advanced manufactured material that builds some of the parts that make Airbus fly!
Pursuing a career in science or engineering will make borders invisible. Because scientists and engineers throughout the world communicate with each other and even work together on projects. Scientists and engineers are in short supply all over the world. If you are a high achiever, you can literally go anywhere.
There is a tool on the internet that can help you pursue a successful career in science or engineering. It provides information on bursaries for studying the sciences and all branches of engineering. You’ll also find info on places to study, possible careers, and stories of successful young people like yourself.
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The side effects of these advancements in science and technology are now beginning to show, and we have to respond...urgently!
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