Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests

by Conservation through Poverty Alleviation, Int
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Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
Help Farmers Rear Silk Moths to Restore Forests
New silk and raffia creations for IFAM
New silk and raffia creations for IFAM

Overview of the last three months :

During the last three months, SEPALI Madagascar has focus its objectives on the preparation of the IFAM ( International Folk Art Market) show that will take place in Santa Fe in July 2022.

The Innovation of the Sepali production for this year (2022) is the combination of the Raffia and wild silk to make new products such us wall hanging, table runner…

So far, all the raffia fibers  processed by Sepali came from Ambodivoangy community. Ambodivoangy is one of the 13 communities that work with Sepali Madagascar.

This year (2022), Sepali Madagascar has decided to relaunch the loom weaving program after three years interruption. Sepali staff has established a sustainable partnership with the villagers that grow Raffia trees.

As a target for 2022, Sepali’s villagers will provides 100 kilograms of raw raffia to Sepali.

1-             Wall-hanging design and creation :

The idea was to combine the raffia with wildsilk materials. Both materials are produced locally and harvested sustainably by the villagers. 

Hasina , making the one square meter wall hanging :
This products contains 16 meters of raffi ruban and 1 msq of Ceranchia silk

Hasina making her second design of wall hanging

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                              

Mario weaving on 8 paddle loom
Mario weaving on 8 paddle loom

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Mangousta skin is used to make the black dye
Mangousta skin is used to make the black dye

The SEPALIM team is continuing to expand on it experiments making textile plant dyes.  Some dyes are made from fruits purchased at the market and some are from plants that they gather and subsequently garden. The beautiful purple-black dye that is the background of photograph 1 is from the tropical fruit trees in genus, Garcinia.  The common Malagasy name is Mangosta.  The tree native to countries around the Indian Ocean and has been introduced in South America and Florida.  Mangosta is a slow growing tree and the fruit is harvested in April. The pulp surrounding the seeds is delicious and dyes are made from the fleshy shell.

Ampalibe is the Malagasy name for Jackfruit.  Although it is a native of India it is grown in Madagascar. ue-black) It is remarkable for its large size; it is the largest know fruit and can get up to 80 lbs (35kg). In addition to its beautiful color, it is packed with nutrient and Lalaina has been experimenting with making jackfruit flour for baking!  The fruit is harvested in May, June and October.  The fruit tastes like a combination of apples, mangoes, pineapple and banana.

Lichens, Olagoaka in Malagasy, are used to make the warm brown and orange dyes for Bombyx and Ceranchia silks.  They are harvested during the rain period January through April and is sold for 5000 Ar/kilo  (about $2.00) for its medicinal properties.  The lichens are a parasites of coconut trees and removing the lichen is beneficial to the tree.  People in Madagascar use this species to treat indigestion.

The team is continuing to experiment with new plants - stay tuned for results with Indigofera (light blue), Clidemia (black) and Folera mena (military green).

Jackfruit dyes Bombyx silk bright yellow
Jackfruit dyes Bombyx silk bright yellow
Lichens yield beautiful browns and oranges
Lichens yield beautiful browns and oranges

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Dyeing textiles in the rain
Dyeing textiles in the rain

July is International Folk Art Market month!  The team has been working hard, even during the the rain, to dye new products with new dyes.  While they have not been able to travel due to Madagascar's Covid restrictions, their products hopefully will arrive in time.  

While we have always used eco-friendly dyes sold by a US company, we have  been transitioning to all natural plant dyes for 2 years.  Farmers that work with SEPALIM are helping by gathering plants and some are even beginning to grow them on their farms. In addition, Mamy has set up a network of carpenters in Maroantsetra to save wood powders for him from which he makes dyes. The team is hoping to develop new natural dyes, including "Madagascar indigo". 

It has been fascinating to learn how differently the cocoons spun by different caterpillar species, as well as cocoons spun by the same species of caterpillar react, to the dyes.  Could this be due to varying amounts and kinds of sericin (the glue the caterpillars produce so fibers adhere to one another)?  Furthermore, different types of cocoons spun by different species (different types of silk proteins) vary as well.  Isn't the world of caterpillar diversity fascinating, surprising and marvelous?!

C. apollina silk vs B. mori silk, same plant dye
C. apollina silk vs B. mori silk, same plant dye
New products celebrating Madagascar
New products celebrating Madagascar

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Farmers weighing cocoons
Farmers weighing cocoons

The market situation in Madagascar right now is pretty dire for farmers as it is for many of us. Since the vanilla market has crashed once again, there is no way to earn money except through the sale of cocoons to SEPALI Madagascar.  Sustainably gathering or farming cocoons is far better than harvesting forest resource and easier.  As a result, Mamy reports that the cocoon program has become a lifeline for many. 

 Farmers area able to earn money by selling 6 different types of cocoons to SEPLAIM and SEPALIM has been stockpiling them for the future use.  Furthermore, because SEPALIM is working with 5 different species of moths, it purchases cocoons 8 out of 12 months in the year.  The largest number of purchases are during May, July, August and September, months that correlate with the lean season in Madagascar and when farmers are most in need. Hence, SEPALIM's greatest expense is salaries to its workers and second greatest expense is cocoon purchase.  We may be small but we think that is pretty good for a conservation and poverty alleviation program.  We are especially grateful  to our donors for supporting this work.  Thank you.

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Cocoon silk products go online!
Cocoon silk products go online!

Keep Moving

Everyone knows how difficult it is to engage with today's sluggish markets.  The Madagascar economy,  dependent on vanilla production and tourism, is no exception. The vanilla market, the most important agricultural market in our area, is vulnerable to disease, weather conditions, political instability, theft, early picking, regulatory controls and now a crashing world economy.  In 2016 vanilla beans were purchased for $400-$450 per kilo (compared to 60-80 US$/kg in 2015 and 30 US$/kg in 2012). Obviously that price was not sustainable and led to considerable graft and many buyers have had to switch to cheaper alternatives.  As a result, the vanilla market in Madagascar market crashed in 2019-2010.  

SEPALI Madagascar director, Mamy Ratsimbazafy, reports that SEPALIM cocoon farming program is now seen as a "life-saver" program.  In previous years, 2016-2019 ,  the team had difficulty convincing subsistence farmers to farm caterpillars, as well as sustainably collect cocoons after the adult moth had emerged. Now our cocoon market is one of the few ways that farmers can earn money and that artisan women can engage in steady work. 

Mamy has amassed large stocks of cocoons produced by 6 different genera of silk moths.  At last we have enough to expand into new market areas and a means to increase our ecological and economic impact!  However, the Covid-19 crisis emerged and international shipping has been slowed.  It takes twice the amount of time that it did previously to ship a box from Maroantsetra to Tana and two times again the time and expense to ship from Tana to the US.  Furthermore, the financial crisis due to Covid means that both the markets we had been working on developin,  as well as many previous buyers, have disappeared.  

Thankfully, GlobalGiving had our back and offered extra financial assistance to help us get through the next few months.  The CPALI team is now focused on developing a digital presence for SEPALI Madagascar through its new market site, Tanana Silk.  If you have not had time to visit our online portal, please do! www.tananasilk.com. When you log on you can sign-up for our new Tanana Silk newsletter that will keep you up to date on new products and current sales.  We are also now twittering up a storm at 2silk_ta;  pinning our latest creations at "Ta'na'na Silk" on Pintrest and instagramming at "tananasilks".  You can also find us in the Fair Trade Federation holiday gift guide.  We have begun stocking inventory in the US so we are able to ship most items in time for the holidays!  

69.5 kilos Ceranchia cocoons!
69.5 kilos Ceranchia cocoons!
Collage pack art by SEPALIM artisans!
Collage pack art by SEPALIM artisans!
Preparations for the digital market place
Preparations for the digital market place

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Organization Information

Conservation through Poverty Alleviation, Int

Location: Walla Walla, WA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Catherine Craig
Project Leader:
Catherine Craig
Walla Walla, WA United States
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