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.
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.
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.
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.
2003 First visit to Madagascar CPALI established as 501(c)3
2004 Field surveys at Ranomafana National Park CPALI board writes strategic plan
2006 Field surveys in Makira/Masoala CPALI House established in Maroantsetra
2007 Experimental work begins at CPALI House Mamy Ratsimbazafy, SEPALI's current director, identifies host tree for suraka
Field trials continue Permanent field team organized Demonstration sites established in Maroantsetra Three initial target species identified
2009 First farmer to plant of 1000 trees First crop of cocoons sold and exported to Thailand
2010 SEPALI Madagascar is founded by Mamy Ratsimbazafy
Provisional Patent filed for non-spun texrile Non-spun textile juried and accepted into Material ConneXion's Worldwide libraries
2011 CPALI skirt appears in Tara St. James Collection, Fashion Week, NY
Intern Tom Corcoran's innovative film wins $10,000 to support SEPALI SEPALI Madagascar partners with the Peace Corps Volunteer Kerry O'Neill joins the team Lalaina Raharindimby organizes women's progract Lead farmer and lead artisan programs established
First farmer's picnic and awards ceremony SEPALI Madagascar receives SEED Award SEPALI Madagascar Equator Initiative Finalist
2012 SEPALI purchases permanent demonstration site First Global Giving project fully funded
2013 28 farmers produce cocoons Matt O'Neill produces SEPALI video 300 farmers join SEPALI Madagascar Ceranchia apollina cocoons made into textile
SEPALIM welcomes Donald Quinn-Jacobs, a new PCV SEPALI sells 25 m of non-spun textile to Habu Textile James Toupin joins CPALI as Chairman of the Board CPALI requests an audit that is completed by Tonneson and Company Kerry O'Neill joins CPALI as Assistant Director CPALI partners with dConstruct Jewelry
2014 Heidi MacClean joins the CPALI board
We could not have done this without you!!
MISOATRA BESAKA GLOBAL GIVING!!
Straight from Madagascar - Mamy Ratsimbazafy, CPALI local director and SEPALI Madagascar's founder, reports in on project success.
1- News about the new moth species “ Ceranchia apollina”:A lot has happened in the SEPALIM program during the latest 3 months. After the discovery of the host plant for our new target species moth “ Ceranchia apollina”, SEPALIM team has decided to start the design creation using the Ceranchia cocoons. At the same time, the team has planted the host plant seedling at the new demonstration site with great success. At least 15 women have been invited to make textile out of Ceranchia cocoons in June – July. Twenty two meter squares of both A. suraka and Ceranchia silk textiles have been shipped to the US in July to be sold as well as for design research purpose. Making textile remains as the favourite activities according to the women.
Intercropping the host plant tress with legumes, vegetable and Mushrooms:Every single step of the wild silk rearing has been exploited by the Sepalim team to bring benefit to the community breeders. Silkworm pupae are rich in protein and will provide a new food resource for farmers in the future. The larvae poop, (everybody poops) which we already know as a good fertilizer for vegetable garden. In that case, Sepalim has decided to combine the wild silk rearing with legumes and vegetable farming program through intercropping the host plant trees with new kinds of legumes and vegetable that no one in the Maroantsetra area has planted before. To do so, Sepalim distributes seeds to all breeders that have larvae on their host plant trees.At this time, we are doing experiments of both legumes and vegetable farming. The goal of the experiment is to master the technical farming methods of each crop as well as to learn the best way to get profit from doing a green composting.
One of the Sepalim good news in the latest three months also is the discovery of two species of edible mushrooms ( Judas ear mushroom, Auricularia and white mushroom, lentinus) growing on the brunches of the Talandoha ( A. suraka host plant). Sepalim will improve its research on growing mushroom on the host plant dead brunches in order to combat the malnutrition threat in the community.
Pupae-for-food to combat the malnutrition:Insect pupae are eaten worldwide and known as a delicious food. Unfortunately, insect consumption is not popular in Madagascar. The pupae is rich in protein and probably the future protein source for Malagasy. That is why we have decided to introduce the pupae-for-food program to the community. Many researches have been done locally to cook a delicious meal of pupae.
The pupae of the SATURNIDAE might be a good protein recourses for people in the poor country such as ours. The size of the pupae is big and only 50 pupae for every meal is enough for one adult person. After trying to eat the pupae combining with spices, we can witness that is very delicious meal to eat with our emblematic food “ Rice”.
Only, we suggested to harvest only the young pupae because the old pupae tastes bitter.
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