More often than not, the reaction of most people when they see a cockroach scampering across the kitchen floor will either be a verbal or cognitive exclamation of “OMG”. When 2 or more cockroaches are sighted, they would probably evacuate their houses and bring in pest control specialists.
It is nearly unthinkable for anyone to embrace the existence cockroaches. Yet somewhere in the Zhangqiu district in Jinan, China’s Henan province, houses a cockroach farm where 300 million American cockroaches reside.
Yes, you read that right, a farm built to breed cockroaches that houses 300 million cockroaches.
Mr Li Yanrong owns this particular cockroach farm where he breeds cockroaches to tackle China’s food waste problem.
China generates at least 60 million tonnes of kitchen waste annually and most of it is processed through fermentation, an expensive, inefficient system that pollutes the environment.
Mr. Li argues that cockroaches offered an alternative, non-polluting way of disposing of food waste.
“These cockroaches are not afraid of anything soft, hard, sour, sweet, bitter, or spicy.”
His cockroaches munch through about 15 tonnes of food waste a day, or about a quarter of the district’s kitchen scraps.
American cockroaches are often used as an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine to heal wounds and repair tissue- who would have thought.
Mr. Li added that he already had about 300 tonnes of cockroaches and planned to expand that total to about 4,000 tonnes to be able to process 200 tonnes of food waste from Zhangqiu and neighbouring cities per day. OMG is right.
Cockroach farms have expanded across China in recent years, mainly to accommodate medicinal demand.
The world’s biggest is in Xichang, southwestern Sichuan province, where six billion adult cockroaches are bred a year for the pharmaceutical industry.