Save a forest by fighting protein deficiency

 
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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The population grows very fast and the farm space reduces every year due to climate condition or of cultural practices outdated and destructive.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

Links:

Thank you Global Giving!
Thank you Global Giving!
It is hard to believe that CPALI is celebrating its 10th anniversary and SEPALI Madagascar is celebrating its 4th.  Our current success and projects are thanks to you, our donors and supporters.  At this 10 - year interval it seems appropriate to outline our  timeline of major events so you can see how far we have come with your help and support:

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

 

 

 

 2008   Second demonstration site and nursery is organized
          Mamy completes CPALI training manual
         CPALI is finalist at the World Bank Development Marketplace
         CPALI achieves permanent 501(c)3 status
          Farmer nursery established in Ambodivoagany

 

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

 

 

          SEPALI bank accepts its first cocoon "deposits"
          William Barclay joins the CPALI board
          SEPALI partners with Stanford's Design for EXTREME affordability course
          CPALI partners with Cornell University to analyze soils  

 

 grinding soil 

 2013   28 farmers produce cocoons
           Matt O'Neill produces SEPALI video
           300 farmers join SEPALI Madagascar
           Ceranchia apollina cocoons made into textile

  SEPALI textile works proudly display 20 meters of textile Two new wild silk textiles plus the original (top)

           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!!

Thank you Global Giving!!
Thank you Global Giving!!

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SEPALI Madagascar
SEPALI Madagascar's women's workshop

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.

Thank you for your continued support!

Two new textiles plus our traditional
Two new textiles plus our traditional
Experimental gardens - stay tuned
Experimental gardens - stay tuned
Yummy insects for lunch!
Yummy insects for lunch!
High nutrition, high satisfaction
High nutrition, high satisfaction

Links:

Ceranchia apollina cocoon (our new favorite)
Ceranchia apollina cocoon (our new favorite)

One of the most difficult aspects of the CPALI/SEPALI project has been to change farmer's  "scarcity thinking".  Scarcity thinking stems from a lack of hope and belief that it is better to spend today than save for tomorrow.  Scarcity thinking seems to most afflict the poorest of the poor because their lives are so tenuous.  CPALI/SEPALIM is trying to tackle this problem by establishing a "Cocoon Bank" where farmers deposit cocoons but defer returns until they build up enough cash to make a substantial purchase. So far, we have had about 15 farmers take advantage of cocoon savings but that is not enough. We need to figure out how to motivate farmer's to learn how produce more cocoons.  Most farmers do not follow the "rules", or the steps we teach to insure maximum cocoon production.  Like all of us, they take short cuts. During rearing season, many farmers fail to a visit their fields frequently enough to move larvae to fresh trees, adjust protective nets and collect larvae just prior to spinning. Even though these activities only last for about 40 days per crop, and take about 2 hours, farmers are not sufficiently motivated to return to their fields as frequently as is needed.  Some farmers need to walk 2 hours from the village to reach their fields.  

To motivate farmers we are trying a new incentive program - that is to make seeds for vegetable crops available to those who deposit cocoons. Our data show that farmers who successfully rear larvae and produce cocoons are much more likely to continue rearing larvae than those that simply go through the training.  Therefore, if a farmer that deposits 500 cocoons in the cocoon bank, he or she will have access to viable vegetable seeds. Our new Peace Corp Volunteer, Donald Quinn-Jacobs, has planted a vegetable garden on Gony Victor's land in Mahalevona, one of new communities near the Masoala National Park where we are working (see map).  Farmers will be able to choose what they want to grow and the number of seeds available will correlate with the number of cocoons deposited. The vegetable seeds can be inter-cropped with Talandoa trees on existing farms to make daily visits to tend caterpillars more productive.   We are hoping for some good eating and improved nutrition for farmer families - we will let you know if our scheme works!

 

 SEPALI Madagascar sent 20 meters of beautiful textile made from cocoons spun by two different species of Saturniidae moths:  Antherina suraka  (our old favorite) and our new favorite, Ceranchia apollina. Instead of mixing inner and outer cocoons, the team made 2 new textiles that have unique and stunning characteristics.  The moth loosely spins the outer cocoon  and the inner cocoon is spun tightly.  The photograph below shows the cocoon as it is found in the field to maximum effect. 

The Team decided to take advantage of these differences to make two different textiles.  The top fabric is made from cocoons spun by Antherina suraka. The center fabric is made from outer cocoons and the bottom fabric from the inner cocoons. Although it is hard so see the gorgeous translucent effect of the middle layer textile, it is fun to imagine a beautiful gown that takes advantage of the silks double layer beauty - Any designers for the next eco-Oscar sensation?

We are finally able to begin our long-term soil analyses.  One hundred and forty samples have benn analyzed from the farms marked on the included map. Thank you Cornell, REBIOMA and the SEPALI team for helping this work come to the fore!

Two new textiles, plus our old favorite (on top)
Two new textiles, plus our old favorite (on top)
SEPALI soil sample sites
SEPALI soil sample sites

Links:

Good bye and thank you to Kerry O
Good bye and thank you to Kerry O'Neill

NEWS FLASH: SEPALIM’s EXTREME team to be interviewed on CNN. Showtime is Saturday, 18 May, 2013, 11:30 AM PST and 2:30 PM EST.  Over the past 6 months CPALI/SEPALIM has been partnering with a team of Stanford students to improve our project and in particular textile production efficiency.  We don’t know for SURE, but the team was interviewed and we think that they will be featured on CNN’s “What’s Next”. The program is focused on the Stanford course, “Design for Extreme Affordability” taught by Jim Patel and that we have been privileged to participate in. We hope that you will tune in – it’s a great course and great program (for a sneak peak:  http://whatsnext.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/14/addressing-tough-poverty-problems-with-innovation-and-design).

News from the field:
Mamy Ratsimbazafy continues to lead the team in building up the soils at our new training site but harvesting truckloads of the invasive plant, water hyacinth.  It is a huge effort but we are hoping other farmers in the area will follow our lead and improve their fields.  Farmers are continuing to deposit cocoons in the bank and building up “savings”.

Maminirina Randrianandrasana has just completed a survey of insects eaten in the Makira area as we get ready to introduce caterpillar pupae as an alternative source of protein.  As a first step we are comparing the nutritional value of different species as well as the effect of host plant on the nutritional value of Antherina suraka. Lalaina Raharindimby, the head of our women’s training program, has figured out how to roast the pupae so that they can be ground and their nutritional value analyzed. We hope to generate enough funds to allow these analyses while we pick the next silkworms that will be used for silk production.  Our goal is to enable our farmer to earn cash and increase their protein intake.

We are sad to say good-bye to our fabulous Peace Corp volunteer Kerry O’Neill.  Kerry has been a delight to work with and formed many fast friendships in the community and with the farmers allowing SEPALIM to continue to extend its Social Capital approaches to conservation.  She has been a critical force and developing new partnerships in Mahalevena where new farmers have already planted trees and produced silkworms. Kerry, we thank you and will miss you greatly.

Market news
We are thrilled to announce that CPALI/SEPALIM’s textiles are now advertised and available not only to designers through Source4Style’s website (www.source4style.com) but also to retail buyers at Habu Textile in New York (and soon, Tokyo; www.habutextile.com)! It is wonderful to be working with two such environmentally conscious and effective companies.

Let the adventure continue!!

SEPALIM continues to improve training site
SEPALIM continues to improve training site

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Project Leader

Kerry O'Neill

Assistant director
Lincoln, Massachusetts United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Save a forest by fighting protein deficiency