Save a forest by fighting protein deficiency

by Conservation through Poverty Alleviation, Int
Vetted
Belananna
Belananna

It has been a hard summer for the SEPALI team and farmers. Rafanoely from Ambinentelo, one of our lead farmers, has been unable to walk due to a foot infection; Fenozara Justin is unable to travel to Bealananana to collect cocoons due to poor health. On top of all of that the weather has been bad – the winds were strong enough to capsize a boat in Antongil Bay that was filled with local people. All of this is a reminder of how difficult it can be for farmers and artisans to travel to Maroantsetra for team meetings and workshops.

Fortunately, help has arrived just in time. The team received a grant from the US Embassy to purchase electric sewing machines that they will convert into manual sewing machines. As a result, artisans will be able to use the machines in their villages where there is no electricity. We hope that having production local will encourage farmers to increase silkworm farming as we continue to look for new ways to introduce insects for food in the Maroantsetra area.

Of course it is much easier to expand interest in producing insects for food in areas where people have already discovered the deliciousness of silkworm pupae. Fortunately, Bealananana is one of those areas. The goal of the Bealananana program is to make sure that Ceranchia apollina silkworms are being collected sustainably. Ceranchia silk worms are the focus of SEPALI’s textile production program.

SEPALI would like to introduce farming the pupae but there is a catch - village elders will not allow the silkworm’s host plant to be planted because it is considered an agricultural pest. When the natural vegetation is destroyed for farming, the moths’ host plant is a “first responder” – it rapidly colonizes areas where trees have been cut.

In fact, the host plant also grows well in degraded sites some 5-10 years after deforestation.  The Talandoa tree, the host plant of the silkworm Antherina suraka raised in Maroantsetra, exhibited the same behavior. In fact, some Maroantsetra farmers used existing Talandoa trees to raise A. suraka larvae instead of planting them.  Perhaps with a little work, farmers in Bealananana could be convinced to raise C. appolina silkworms on existing host plants to increase silkworm pupae and cocoon yields. It almost looks like we have developed a replicable model!  We smell a new opportunity! Stay tuned!

Ceranchia host plant growing wild
Ceranchia host plant growing wild
Extended family
Extended family

Links:

Belanana farmers
Belanana farmers

We have worked hard to identify new types of edible insects, study their life cycles, analyze protein content, serve insect brochettes and delicious rice and pupae casserole.  Nevertheless, it is still find it difficult to convince farmers to incorporate insects into their diets. That is, however, with the exception of the pupae of Ceranchia apollina, the caterpillar that makes the gorgeous platinum cocoons that are the main focus of SEPALI's textile program. Ceranchia apollina pupae are not eaten by farmers in our immediate Makira area but on the northwestern side of Makira, where the pupae are considered a tasty snack. Therefore, while eastern farmer populations remain recalcitrant, western populations have already developed a pupae-eating culture.

In the western site, communities collected cocoons and pupae long before SEPALI arrived on the scene. Because the pupae are only tasty within the first day of completing their cocoon, many of those harvested were discarded and in all cases the cocoons were left scattered by the edge of the road. Discovering this species and their silk has been a bonanza for the silk program becuase a known but previously discarded resource has become valuable. SEPALI Madagascar's new job is to focus on instructing people in communities where C. apollina is abundant how to harvest the pupae and cocoons sustainably. Hence, our new approach is to try to improve on sustainable use of an already used resource. 

In the future, SEPALI will be directing its efforts to expanding production of C.apollina for food and fiber.  Farmers from the eastern region where SEPALI as been working have been volunteering to travel to the western region where Ceranchia apollina are found to teach new communities.

"You can't always get what you want . . . But if you try sometimes you find . . You get what you need"

Removing pupae from cocoons
Removing pupae from cocoons
Protecting pupae until adult emergence
Protecting pupae until adult emergence
Three cocoons suspended from vine, the hostplant
Three cocoons suspended from vine, the hostplant

Links:

Design Team!
Design Team!

CPALI supporters,

The workshop last week was a tremendous success! As you may know, CPALI director Catherine Craig and design consultant Docey Lewis traveled to Madagascar last week to run an intensive design workshop with our team in Maroantsetra. The workshop ran for 10 days and covered a myriad of new techniques, cost of production analyses, designing new products and mastering new silk processing techniques.

The workshop was designed to include many different groups of farmers working with our project. Silk production farmers from both Ceranchia and Antherina communities contributed cocoons and got to see the design team in action. SEPALI artisans worked closely with Docey Lewis and learned gorgeous new dyeing techniques and product design. Insect-rearing farmers showcased their dragonfly rearing program with a surprise insect lunch for the whole team!

All and all, the team was able to dye more than 30 meters of fabric, master 6 new shades of dye, learn new techniques like shibori, fades and color mixing, and make gorgeous new products from combinations of dyed silk and embroidery. You’ll have to wait to see our secret new product line at the NY NOW gift show in August!

Thank you to everyone for your ongoing support! This workshop means so much to us and to our team and will hopefully change our market options for the better. While Cay and Docey stop off in Paris on their way home to investigate market leads there, our team in Madagascar has already jumped right into the next mission. This week they will travel with international artist Kevin Ohanlon to assist with 4 environmental art workshops for kids in the rural communities surrounding Maroantsetra. We can’t wait to see what they come up with!

Dragonfly lunch snacks
Dragonfly lunch snacks
Dyeing workshop with Docey
Dyeing workshop with Docey
Fixing the colors
Fixing the colors
Shibori Reds
Shibori Reds
Wild Blues
Wild Blues
SEPALI farmer with his cocoons
SEPALI farmer with his cocoons
Holiday Fun by Cartoonist Tim Whyatt
Holiday Fun by Cartoonist Tim Whyatt

A Big Thank You:

We'd like to start out with a big thank you to all of our generous, forward-thinking donors, our hard-working, inspiring team in Madagascar, and our creative, dedicated team of volunteers! This year, we increased farmer earnings yet again, expanded our Ceranchia program in Belanana to two sites, produced over 500 meters of wild silk textile, and increased sales by 5-fold. All of our success was made possible by your support!

News from the Bugs:

While many of the SEPALI staff are on holiday vacation, Fenozara Justin, the Lead Farmer spearheading the Fulgoridae and Orcytes programs, is entering his most active rearing season for his projects (see chart below). His land, now boasting a large population of host plants for Fulgoridae, ideal habitat for the Orcytes beetle and fish ponds for the giant water bugs, was able to attract larger populations of all three species this year. He is continuing his lifecycle research program through the holiday season and training Tsoly, a SEPALI staff member, to begin a similar project at a second research site near Vodarina. 

The SEPALI demonstration site in Maroantsetra will also have an active rearing project during the holiday season including Oryctes and cocoon-producing wasps. For now, the team is conducting their rearing work in a small enclosure, but hope to expand their operation to the larger moth garden in the spring. The moth garden is shaping up to be a tremendous asset as we expand silk and insect programs in 2016. The team will temporarily store the construction equipment in a secure location during the holiday break and complete the structure in February in time for the spring silk rearing season. 

A Holiday Surprise: 

As an exciting holiday surprise for the team in Madagascar, the famous and rare Malagasy Hawk Moth emerged from its pupal phase this month. The rare moth was originally predicted to exist by Darwin based on an orchid specimen with an exceptionally deep nectary. Darwin predicted that the plant would need a large moth pollinator with a long proboscis. Sure enough, the moth was discovered in Madagascar many years later.

Our own team was lucky enough to come across the larvae of this rare moth on a recent field mission a few months ago and labor-intensively reared the larvae by returning to the site every few days to collect fresh host tree leaves. The moths successfully emerged a few days ago and thrilled the whole team! 

 Looking Forward:

We have many exciting new plans in store for 2016 including training workshops by an international design consultant, participation in our first Malagasy trade show, the introduction of a formal monitoring program for Ceranchia, education and outreach opportunities in partnership with WCS and the expansion of our insect program to the rural communities. Thank you again for your support and we hope that you will consider supporting our projects again for 2016!

All the best and happy holidays,

CPALI/SEPALI team

Insect Timeline by Mamy Ratsimbazafy
Insect Timeline by Mamy Ratsimbazafy
Fulgoridae
Fulgoridae
Dragonfly Larva
Dragonfly Larva
Giant Water Bug
Giant Water Bug
Orcytes Beetle Larva
Orcytes Beetle Larva
Bunea Larva
Bunea Larva
Hawk Moth Newly Emerged
Hawk Moth Newly Emerged
Hawk Moth Proboscis
Hawk Moth Proboscis
Matthew and Richard With Wood for the Moth Garden
Matthew and Richard With Wood for the Moth Garden

It’s that time of year! With the expected emergence of the adult Oryctes beetles and Fulgoridae looming near, the SEPALI team is breaking ground on a new enclosure. Led by volunteer, Matthew, the structure will be built on the SEPALI demonstration site and will serve as an insectary and moth rearing house for the project.

Wait, don’t you already have a moth garden? Yes, we did. You may have seen pictures of the previous moth garden in our newsletters: a basketball court-sized enclosure with native plants, insects and a small pond. Unfortunately, the garden was damaged in a cyclone last winter and eventually fell victim to thievery due to the highly coveted fishing nets that were used in construction. Many of the plants are still there, but the enclosure has since been removed.

Learning from our mistakes, the new garden will include upgrades to ensure longevity. First, treated lumber will be used for construction instead of bamboo, which quickly degrades in Maroantsetra due to weather conditions and native bamboo-boring insects. The walls and ceiling of the new garden will be made of industrial-grade agricultural netting, which should be more resistant to sun damage than the previous fishing nets. Finally, the nets will be removable so that they can be safely stored during cyclone season (December through March) and returned to the structure each spring. This will also allow a period when natural pollinators and animals typically too large for the pore-size will be able to enter the enclosure and access the plants.

Matthew and SEPALI team members Lava and Richard, are hoping to have the project completed by late October. Once constructed, a care-taker and his family will move into the new SEPALI watchman’s house to help keep the demonstration site safe and productive.

A Tiny Golden Cocoon

One of the many goals of the new enclosure is to give the SEPALI team a place to rear silk moths and other insects including water bugs, dragon flies and rhinoceros beetles. Rhinoceros beetles (Oryctes) in particular have been a source of curiosity for the SEPALI staff in recent months. While the team was investigating their potential as a protein source, a recent survey revealed instead the secret life of parasitic wasp larvae.

The cycle begins when a small, female wasp with a black body and dark, shiny wings lays a single egg on the abdomen of an Oryctes beetle larva. When the egg hatches, the wasp larva emerges and feeds on the beetle larva for a period of about two weeks. By the time the Oryctes larva dies, the wasp larva is mature enough to spin a cocoon. (Wasps too can spin cocoons!) The result is a tiny, golden, four-layered cocoon where the wasp will complete its transformation into an adult.

While the cocoon is likely too small to do anything productive with, it is a source of fascination for a team that studies all-things-silk. Hopefully the new enclosure will help us answer more questions about the lifecycles, predators, and protection of our insect friends.

Beginnings: Building the Moth Garden
Beginnings: Building the Moth Garden
Predatory Wasps
Predatory Wasps
Wasp Larva Feeding on Beetle Larva
Wasp Larva Feeding on Beetle Larva
Golden Wasp Cocoons
Golden Wasp Cocoons
Separated Four-Layer Cocoon
Separated Four-Layer Cocoon
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Conservation through Poverty Alleviation, Int

Location: Walla Walla, WA - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.cpali.org
Project Leader:
Kerry O'Neill
Assistant director
Lincoln, Massachusetts United States
$19,866 raised of $20,000 goal
 
 
189 donations
$134 to go
Donate Now Add Project to Favorites

Help raise money for this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page for this project.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.