The Trust Insects for Food (TIFF) is one of the Southern Africa Resilience Innovation Lab (SA RILab) innovation projects implemented in Dikgale Community of Limpopo Province in South Africa by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The project falls under the Resilience Innovation Challenge for Food Security and Improved Income Generation (RIC4FIG) pathway 1 (Improve life and entrepreneurial skills).
The problem addressed
The Dikgale community is situated in a drought prone area with brutally high temperatures, low soil fertility and less than 500 mm of rainfall and typifies conditions that cannot support rain fed agriculture. The climatic conditions make it difficult to grow the staple maize without supplementary irrigation. Introduction of a resilient cereal like sorghum, with a short season means the community can ensure food security without irrigation and intensive inputs. The resilience of the crop is a further advantage towards combating the adverse effects of climate change in poor communities.
The project seeks to develop an “out-of-the-box” farming system, commercially producing grain sorghum and development of enterprise value chains from a single crop. Sorghum is the most ideal foundation of the innovation. Its adaptability to harsh conditions is a plus in efforts for combating climate change and ensuring food security. The sorghum crop and this project will be a vehicle for the inclusive participation of resource poor communities in agriculture because it is among the few crops that can be grown without sophisticated knowledge and irrigation in areas receiving 700 mm or less of summer rainfall.
The innovative valorisation of sorghum plant offers a direct solution towards addressing food and feed security through intertwining crop and insect farming. Valorisation of a resilient crop through utilization of waste streams, in the process creating enterprises and jobs is an important innovation for rural communities like Dikgale. The emerging enterprises will also contribute towards income and job creation for the unemployed.