Butterfly farming to be rolled out in Kwale

Pupae in cage where the butterflies are locked and fed.Farmers in Kwale county are set to venture into butterfly farming PHOTO JANET MURIKIRA

Kwale, KENYA: Farmers from Kwale county will soon venture in butterfly farming like their counterparts in Kilifi county.

The project which is spearheaded by African Butterfly Institute from Nairobi and Mining firm Base Titanium was started last year to enable the community venture into butterfly business in a bid to boost their livelihoods.

According to the Environmental officer Hamza Hamid from Base Titanium, the project which has currently been used for research purposes of different species of butterflies will be rolled out in the community after a period of 6 months.

Speaking on Wednesday during the release of about 12 species of butterflies to their flying house at the mining firm, Hamid said that the project will go a long way to addressing environmental issues adding that butterflies are good indicators for environmental change.

“Butterflies are used to determine the nature of the environment because when they are in great numbers it implies that the environment is safe but if they hibernate it simply means that the environment is polluted,” he said.

He said that once the project is enrolled in the community most people will benefit from the butterfly business which entails selling of the pupa to potential markets.

“This project will serve as a source of income to the community because a single butterfly which produces over 200 pupas can be sold at about sh.20 or sh.30 depending on the season. We also have a special species of butterfly dubbed Hypolimnas Usambara which we intend to sell it at Gede center in North coast at a reasonable price of sh. 80 per pupa because it is rare to find its kind,” he said.

He argued that the project will ensure that indigenous trees are conserved by the community thus reducing human encroachment activities like deforestation in the forest.

“We have different species of butterflies that prefer specific trees and therefore we expect the move will inform the community to stop destroying the forest for the sake of the project sustainability,” he said.

Benzi Karisa a resident from Fihoni village set to benefit from the butterfly project expressed his confidence saying that he was optimistic that the project will transform their lives.