Conservation through Poverty Alleviation, Int

Conservation through Poverty Alleviation, International, a US-based 501(c)3 organization, helps subsistence farmers displaced by the formation of national parks establish new livelihoods that restore and sustain protected habitats.
Oct 7, 2014

Insect Shish Kabobs? A delicious surprise.

SEPALI Lead Farmers share beetle kabobs
SEPALI Lead Farmers share beetle kabobs

At a recent meeting with SEPALI Lead Farmers, team members prepared a delicious surprise: insect shish kabobs! After months of research, this exciting event marks the first time that the insect rearing program has been formally introduced to our farmer members. And the best part? They loved it!

SEPALI team members have been gradually paving the way for the introduction of an insect protein program. Since late 2013, the team has been hard at work evaluating different species of silkworm pupae and other insects for their rearing potential, nutritional value, and rearing techniques. 

While eating insects is old news to many of our SEPALI farmers, the idea of actively rearing them is a new concept. Traditionally considered a “poor man’s food”, insects will have prejudices to surmount in the community, but rampant protein deficiency in the region is putting pressure on families to innovate. Insect protein may offer a solution.

One species that has become particularly interesting to the SEPALI team is the Orcytes beetle. Often found colonizing the trunk of the famous “Ravinala” or “traveler’s tree” in Madagascar, this beetle is easy to rear and yields large numbers of protein-rich pupae. Over the past few months, SEPALI staff have been working to master the rearing techniques for this particular beetle. Finally, in late September, the whole production was ready for the farmers.

On September 15, 2014, SEPALI Lead Farmers gathered at the demonstration site for a tri-annual meeting and were surprised to find insects on the menu. Initially skeptical of the "poor man's food", SEPALI farmers gave the suspicious-looking kabobs a fair chance and found the recipe to be "surprisingly delicious". In fact, sharing a meal of protein-rich beetles and vegetables from the SEPALI demonstration site seemed to energize the whole group. During the session, lead farmers enthusiastically explored the insect rearing beds at the demonstration site, toured thriving vegetable gardens and witnessed active mushroom cultivation on silkworm host trees. "I understand now how much SEPALI is trying to offer", said Fenozara Justin, a leading cocoon producer with the SEPALI program. "I would like to be involved in these new programs."

The overwhelmingly positive response from farmer members is encouraging for the SEPALI team. In the coming months, the team will shift its focus to the farmers and begin insect rearing trainings in the communities. With a little luck and a lot of insects, SEPALI farmers may be able to lead the charge against protein deficiency in Maroantsetra. 

SEPALI staff demonstrates beetle rearing beds
SEPALI staff demonstrates beetle rearing beds
Beetle life cycle
Beetle life cycle
Beetle rearing training
Beetle rearing training
Mushroom production at SEPALI demonstration site
Mushroom production at SEPALI demonstration site
Vegetable garden training
Vegetable garden training
Sep 12, 2014

Marching orders from the Architects for Humanity!

Bertrand contemplates the deliciousness!
Bertrand contemplates the deliciousness!

Architects for Humanity have just delivered detailed site plans for the training center where women and men will be able to work any time and increase their earnings even more (see below).  We had some problems getting materials for building the center as the bamboo factory we had hoped to purchase from is no longer. But not to be discouraged, Amelia Thrall of AH  is in the midst of checking with a bamboo promoter in Madagascar regarding the potential of identifying an alternate source for obtaining the treated bamboo. If she hears from him that he has a source, AH drawings engineered and detailed by a bamboo construction expert in India who has previously worked in Madagascar. He could also potentially be involved in construction oversight.  

An added activity for the training center will be cooking classes!  The SEPALI team is planning to teach famrers how to prepare and enjoy insect protein.  The team is currently wild about Rhinocerous beetle larvae that Mamy is learning to farm and from the picture above you can see Bertrand is contemplating the deliciousness of REALLY BIG beetle pupae and a very "full" future.

I don't know what is more exciting than our current income increases and the fact that, after 5 years we seem to be really getting somewhere! Below are exciting data that how for the first time we have more women then men earning money from the silk project and households are earning an average of $90/year.  This is in addition to the mean average income of the area of $145/year (median $55/year). So the bottom line is, these projects would not be possible without you and progress is in the air.

Thank you again for all you have done to help save Madagascar wildlife and better the lives of the farmers with whom we work.

Sincerely,

Catherine Craig, PhD
President, CPALI

Do you have any idea HOW BIG that is???
Do you have any idea HOW BIG that is???

Links:


Attachments:
Jul 16, 2014

National Moth week - celebrating pupae for protein!

Lalaina with Malagasy Comet Moth
Lalaina with Malagasy Comet Moth

Insect farming, not just collecting, will be key to insuring the sustainability of this food source. This month, the CPALI team will be visiting Tiny Farms, a company selling small, “do it yourself” insect rearing kits for consumption. CPALI will serve as the company’s contact for Madagascar and in return, Tiny Farms will help CPALI adapt insect rearing equipment to native insects in Madagascar. Together, the team hopes to introduce a protein-rich species to the subsistence farmers' groups working with our project to eat or sell in order to combat protein deficiency in the region.

Meanwhile, the SEPALI team in Madagascar has been pushing forward on their research with moth pupae for protein and beetle larvae. The team has identified a species of edible larvae that is easy to rear and rich in protein. Last month, the team experimentally reared 35 larvae to maturity in order to document the lifecycle of the species. In the final stages of development, the larvae make a nest in the sandy soil (pictured below) and emerge as a beetle. While the species is promising, the life cycle takes more than a month. SEPALI continues to search for a species that matures faster in order to be a viable food source. 

One event that SEPALI will take advantage of in the coming week is National Moth Week. National moth week celebrates moths around the world and we encourage other organizations and individuals to host "mothing" events!  The hardest part is finding a spot that is dark (away from home and street lamps), but visible from many directions - Simply hang a bed sheet with a light over it (battery powered lights will allow you to visit darker areas).  The light will attract many kinds of insects (an added plus!) as well as moths. The website below, National Moth Week, has tons of great resources and new information - check it out!

Many of the big silk moths, like the ones that CPALI studies, don't fly until the very late evening but if you are in the US and very lucky, you might see a luna moth - it's the right time of year. While the Moth Week event is focused in the US and not an ideal time of year for moths in Madagascar, the SEPALI team is interested in participating and looking forward to observing the July population of moths in Northeast Madagascar. The team hopes to identify species of moths and nocturnal insects that could be viable for protein sources. From July 19th to the 27th, the SEPALI team will set up a moth light and make nightly observations of the fuzzy visitors. Follow along on facebook and twitter to see how it goes!

Donate today and increase your impact! Today, on July 16, 2014, Global Giving will be matching donations to our organization by 50%. That means if you give $100, we get an extra $50. Join us today and help secure a better future for Malagasy farmers!

While the CPALI/SEPALI team is working to introduce insects as an alternative source of protein, similar efforts are being made right here in the US and Europe.  Did you know that insect food, while only a budding industry in the US and Europe is extremely important in Asia and Africa?  Below is a link to a BBC documentary on insects eaten in Thailand.

Tiny Farms Bug Rearing Kit
Tiny Farms Bug Rearing Kit
Mealworms with Tiny Farms
Mealworms with Tiny Farms
Pupae of Hypsoides Moth
Pupae of Hypsoides Moth
Beetle Nest at SEPALI Demo Site
Beetle Nest at SEPALI Demo Site

Links:

donate now:

Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $30
    give
  • $60
    give
  • $90
    give
  • $120
    give
  • $300
    give
  • $500
    give
  • $5,000
    give
  • $30
    each month
    give
  • $60
    each month
    give
  • $90
    each month
    give
  • $120
    each month
    give
  • $300
    each month
    give
  • $500
    each month
    give
  • $5,000
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of Conservation through Poverty Alleviation, Int

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about Conservation through Poverty Alleviation, Int on GreatNonProfits.org.