Jumping into a better life: the profitable world of grasshopper rearing

THURSDAY, MAY 25, 2023

A Surin couple are augmenting their teaching salaries by raising Patanga grasshoppers, also known as Bombay locusts, to sell their eggs and meat.

A kilogram of the grasshoppers goes for 450 baht, while the eggs can be sold for up to 10,000 baht per kg to other grasshopper farmers, said Somphong Cheuthong, 53, a teacher in Surin’s Sang Kha district.

Grasshoppers are a Thai delicacy, often eaten fried and sprinkled with soy sauce as a snack. They are considered a future food due to their high protein and low fat, and can be farmed using agricultural remnants such as coconut coir and banana leaves, he said.

Somphong said he and his wife, Maneewan, 51, who is also a teacher, have long been trying to find second jobs to generate the income they need to cover the expenses of raising two young daughters. They have tried several career options in their free time including opening a coffee shop, raising cows, and growing grapes.

“None of these can compete with grasshoppers in terms of extra income,” said Somphong, adding that he had started by researching on social media how to raise grasshoppers in his free time.

He bought 100 grams of grasshopper eggs for 1,000 baht, which can produce around 500 grasshoppers, and raised them in a homemade shed fashioned from mosquito netting measuring 3x4 metres and two metres in height. The ground must be covered with sand mixed with wet coconut coir, banana leaves or cut grass.

After spreading the eggs on the ground, all the farmer has to do is water them every morning and evening. The eggs will hatch and become adult grasshoppers, after which they will mate with each other and produce more eggs, which can be harvested every 2-3 days.

After 45 days, they will stop laying eggs. The farmer will then sell them for meat and start a new batch of eggs.

Maneewan said since they started a few months ago, the orders for grasshopper eggs and meat have been pouring in non-stop from local merchants and online customers, prompting her to build two more sheds to meet the demand.

She said most of her customers are fellow grasshopper farmers who need new batches of eggs for their cycle.

“Raising grasshoppers is a great part-time career with good income due to the high demand. Getting started is also easy and requires only a small investment,” Somphong said. “Plus, the more people raise them, the more we can sell eggs, making it a sustainable business with a constant supply of customers.”