Farmers living around the Makira Protected Area need to replace the resources they lost when excluded from it. Phase I of the CPALI project focused on teaching farmers how to raise endemic species of silk moths on endemic host trees. Eight thousand cocoons ($60 value) results in 8 kg of potentially high value insect protein, the equivalent of two red-ruffed lemurs. Phase II will focus on reducing childhood malnutrition by introducing silk moth pupae for high value protein.
Thirty thousand farmers living in border communities surrounding the Makira Protected Area have lost access to its resources. These include cash income ($30-$150) and food. Restricted hunting in Makira denies families access to bush meat, an important source of protein and has resulted in increasing childhood anemia in village communities.
Farmers earn cash income ($30/kilo cocoon) from wild silk production on endemic trees inter-cropped on family farms. Silkworm pupae, a by-product of cocoon production, result in 3.9 kg of high-value, sustainable, insect food for human consumption, poultry feed or fertilizer. One kilo of pupae is equivalent in weight to 1 red-ruffed lemur, a previously hunted, highly endangered species in the Makira area and one that we are trying to protect.
CPALI is investing displaced farmers in building up a green border around the Makira Protected Area. By planting the endemic host trees of multiple species of silk moths, farmers are able to produce wild silk cocoons and a high value protein by-product. While insect protein is new for westerners, insects are eaten throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, and silk moths are common. This initiative could be broadly adapted to enhance nutrition, alleviate poverty and protect forests throughout Africa.