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.
Apr 24, 2014

Fatty and delicious!

Its fatty and delicious!
Its fatty and delicious!

After finding beetle larvae under a piece of dead wood that he consumed, Bertrand began searching for more insects to sample.  He found another species of Coleoptera larvae that Mamy identified as Oryctes (rhinoceros beetle) inside the "trunk" of a Ravanala tree. To collect the larvae, he had to cut down the tree. This is not a good way to preserve the Ravanala trees. So SEPALI will initiate research on growing the trees to feed the larvae without having to destroy the trees. SEPALI's demonstration site is a perfect spot to raise potential host plants and then to “ask” the grubs to "taste-test" them. A range of acceptable host plants can then be compared and those that produce the healthiest grubs will be gardened.  This is the same approach the SEPALI team uses to identify caterpillar host plants.

Ravanala madagascariensis (Traveller's "Palm") is an iconic species for Madagascar gracing many postcards, paintings and even currency.  It is not a true palm but actually a bird of paradise from the plant family Strelitziaceae.

"It has been given the name "traveller's palm" because the sheaths of the stems hold rainwater, which supposedly could be used as an emergency drinking supply for needy travellers. However, the water inside the plant is murky, black and smelly and should not be consumed without purification. Another plausible reason for its name is that the fan tends to grow in a north-south line, providing a crude compass." (Fresh from Wikipedia)

The beetle grub, characteristic of beetle larvae from the family Dynastinae, are among the largest beetles.  Some adults reach over 6 inches in length. These wonderful animals can live as adults up to 2-3 years. The larvae feed on rotting wood and can take several years to reach adulthood.  We can't wait to learn more about raising them on the beautiful Bird of Paradise!

Bertrand has devised 2 "recipes" for GG readers. 

The recipes:  

1- Add salt on the larvae and roast it for 5 minutes using firewood.  The grub is ready to eat.

 2- Try snacking on an uncooked larvae “au natural”. The larvae are delicious and crisp as is.

In the picture, there are one-roasted larvae and one uncooked larvae. So both larvae are ready to eat.

Enjoy!!!

Visions of a delicious snack
Visions of a delicious snack
Roasting beetle larvae
Roasting beetle larvae
Ravanala palm (credit http://www.palmtalk.org)
Ravanala palm (credit http://www.palmtalk.org)
Iconic palm (http://www.palmtalk.org)
Iconic palm (http://www.palmtalk.org)

Links:

Mar 13, 2014

Seventy-nine meters of textile produced to date!

Meet Marie Jean - SEPALI
Meet Marie Jean - SEPALI's top textile producer

Data! Data! - Read all about it!

Sepali is assessing its impact and the results so far are great.  Although farmers only started producing cocoons in 2012, farmer numbers trippled between 2012 and 2013

Three hundred farmers from 13 communities have joined SEPALI Madagascar and planted over 30,000 trees on 120 hectares of degraded land or on existing farms.

Farmers have produced 22,765 cocoons and the number of cocoon deposits in SEPALI’s cocoon bank tripled between 2012-2013.  A total of thirty-one farmers have made 130 deposits into the cocoon bank and earned between $13-$54. 

Twenty-four women have participated in workshop training and earned between $15-$48 and produced 79m2 of textile.  SEPALI has recently begun monitoring how textile producers are spending their workshop earnings. Initial results show that 80% of the women spend the majority of their earnings on school uniforms, school supplies, and tuition. Remaining funds are spent on food and household supplies. One woman will use the money to pay a day laborer working her land.

And now let us tell you about Marie Jean - Marie Jean is the first, female leader of a farmer's group.  Also, she has become the most skilled among women textile producers.  After about 5 trainining workshops she has doubled her speed and can produce 2m of textile in the time it takes other women to produce 1m!  We have high hopes that the others will soon catch up and congratulate Marie Jean on her achievements.

The results above bode well for SEPALI's effort to increase cocoon production in time for textile sales in the spring.

We are excited to announce that CPALI will be showing its textiles and representative products at the "Dwell on Design" tradeshow in Los Angeles, June.  Please plan to visit.  Our booth number is MH42.

SEPALI team sewing their textile
SEPALI team sewing their textile

Links:

Feb 6, 2014

SEPALI Madagascar searches for new Insects for food

Searching for beetle larvae
Searching for beetle larvae

During the last two years, we were informed on the radio that Madagascar is under the threat of serious food crisis. The population grows very fast and the farm space reduces every year due to climate condition or of cultural practices outdated and destructive.  In my area which is around the Makira Protected Area (MPA) in Maroantsetra, Madagascar , people are still practicing tavy " slash and burn " and it concerns large tracts of fields.

This practice has existed for many years. Now, the soil becomes sterile and people move to another field to slash and burn again and again. I realized that if nothing is done, my area have a serious problem of malnutrition. It is for this reason that I and my NGO Sepali Madagascar has decide to exploit varieties of edible insects to meet our nutritional needs.

Last year, SEPALIM introduced to farmers that produced wild silk a new perspective to eat pupae or chrysalis in order to improve our protein intake . For this year, Sepali Madagascar has decided to strengthen its research for other groups of edible insects and exploit them as a source of protein for the population around MPA.

We began our studies by observation of insects attracted by the light source every night. We immediately noticed that he were  many beetle species living in our area. We conducted a search of the larvae by digging the soil around the garden and check in the dead wood. We were very curious to learn the habitat of each beetle species. We found two species of beetles during a search of two days around our house garden. These two species of beetles are reputed to be edible insect in for other places in Madagascar.

Around the MPA, everyone has a little story about knowing or seeing someone that eat insect but as for me, I do not have never met any people who has ever eaten insect . In addition, it is still difficult to demonstrate to people that our diet is terribly low in protein, It was hard to explain why we all have the same health problem such us toothache, skin problem, big belly button… All symptoms of malnutrition have become very familiar and there is not any suspect about the origin or the solution to those problems. I know that the road is still long for Sepali to persuade living around MPA to add insects among each household food list. However, we are sure that, progressively, people will finish by accepting Sepali to be their rescuer against the hunger. It is good to start right now because better late than never.

Larvae of Oryctes Rhinoceros beetle
Larvae of Oryctes Rhinoceros beetle
Larvea of Pyrochroa family of PYROCHROIDAE
Larvea of Pyrochroa family of PYROCHROIDAE

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