YAP proposal #276: Farming Palm Weevils (Ansah Boatemaa, Ghana)

larvae stage in palm mashI am Ansah Boatemaa, 24, an environmental activist in Cape Coast, Ghana. I am the Programme Manager for Green Africa Youth Organization in Ghana, and a teaching assistant at the University of Cape Coast. I am passionate about food security and climate change, agricultural waste management, and climate-smart agriculture. These are my research interests.

Our project is focused on introducing insect (Rhynchophorus spp) farming in Ghana, as a cheap, readily available nutritious source of food for local impoverished communities.

Palm weevil, Rhynchophorus spp, are excellent low-cost sources of protein and essential nutrients. They have low-carbon footprint, if farmed as a commercial enterprise. In Ghana, Palm weevils serve as a traditional meal for natives of most rural societies but are not farmed for consumption.

Palm weevil farming is a low-cost enterprise in terms of supplies and labour. The larvae reaches maturity within three months and can be harvested for consumption—very rich in protein.

The project will partner with the Department of Wildlife and Entomology of the University of Cape Coast to provide students and researchers insight in insect farming for human consumption.

Also, traditional leaders, local government representatives of communities, local trade union, and palm wine tappers within the community will be integrated as stakeholders to ensure project sustainability and effectiveness.

Palm trunks, which is regarded as agricultural waste, will be used for farming to provide larvae stage of the Rhynchophorus spp with a natural habitat.

The trunks will be cut into logs where each log is expected to produce about 3 kg of healthy larvae—50 mm in length (for human consumption) for up to six months.

The logs will be fed with fermented palm mash, upon which adult palm weevils will be introduced to mate and produce eggs. Feeding activity and entire life-cycle of the immature stages (eggs, pupae and larvae) are concealed in the trunk.

After about three months, the first crop of weevils will be ready to be harvested.

Prior to the first harvest of the farm, the entomology department will give scientific insight, and ensure the ecological health and quality of the habitat to be provided for the palm weevils.

As a delicacy, unemployed youth will be trained on how to prepare palm weevil larvae as food for trade. This will be done through a workshop for community members. The project is long term and very sustainable.

Income generated from harvest will be used to further the project and scale up in other rural communities. Eventually, it is expected that the project will reach all rural areas—providing affordable food and alternative livelihood.

The farming technique is cost-effective and environmental friendly as it utilizes agricultural waste as a resource and enhance food security.

Palm TrunkMoreover, the mash used in rearing the larvae is rich in nutrients and will be sold as compost for crop farmers in amending infertile soils. Also, after six months, the hollowed palm logs used for rearing and have been burrowed by the larvae will be utilized as containers for gardening and growing ornamental plants.

This project was developed and inspired to combat chronic malnutrition in rural areas within the Ashanti and Central Regions of Ghana.

There is no interest by farmers to farm palm weevils due to lack of skills and technical knowhow. The project will provide skills and knowledge of Palm weevil farming and trading to communities and create alternative livelihood for dwellers.

The project’s success will be measured by:

  • the availability of affordable nutritious food (palm weevils) to rural communities
  • number of youth engaged in palm weevil farming and trade as alternative livelihood
  • income generated from first harvest of the farm which will also indicate the number of consumers.

Additionally, impact measurement will also include the number of crop farmers interested in purchasing the nutrient-rich compost for farming following eventual usage of palm trunk as habitat for palm weevil larvae.

The grant will be used to implement the project in two communities. The USD 5,000 will be utilized as shown below:

Item, amount, date

  • Public education on project’s mission and goals, USD 500, August 2016.
  • Acquisition and preparation of land for project, USD 1,600, September 2016.
  • Labour, USD 1,400, October 2016
  • Workshop for unemployed youth, USD1000, November 2016
  • Supplies (harvest, trade, other), USD 500, February 2017.

 

Blogpost and picture submitted by Ansah Boatemaa (Ghana): gayoghana[at]gmail.com

The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.

 

This post is published as proposal #276 of “YAP” – our “Youth Agripreneur Project”.

The first selection of the winners will be based on the number of comments, likes and views each proposal gets.

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809 thoughts on “YAP proposal #276: Farming Palm Weevils (Ansah Boatemaa, Ghana)

      1. This sounds very exciting – addressing food security while providing employment! I really hope that the project goes ahead regardless of funding outcomes.

  1. Interesting Project. Most people like palm weevils larvae but I agree that they don not think its possible to rear them. Establishing a farm like this will really attract a lot of palm farmers. Great thinking

      1. EzahJackie, you can follow the project coordinators facebook or blog link in the comments or follow on twitter @gayoghana. That’s the organization responsible for the project.

      2. EzahJackie, you can follow the project coordinator’s facebook or blog link in the comments or follow on twitter @gayoghana. That’s the organization responsible for the project.

  2. This is an excellent idea and one that seems to be very well thought out. Right down to the training of the unemployed to become delicacy preparers. The more ways that you can add value to the product the better the enterprise. I really hope that you can prove this business model can sustain itself and that it becomes a model that you can replicate far and wide. Hey, I know that the aim is to produce food for locals but if you get big enough to export some I’ll be your first customer in Canada.

    1. Sixdegreewater, thank you so much for your input. We have the same thought – a good model will aid us in scaling up the project in other rural areas in Ghana and beyond. As you mentioned, this is a sustainable model for entrepreneurship and we look forward to engaging you in export trade. Thanks a lot. We will stay in touch.

  3. Unemployment in Ghana is curtailed when there is innovation and initiatives. The weevils in the Ghanaian local language is ‘Akokono’ and there is indeed a high consumption deficit for this nutritious protein food.

  4. Unemployment in Ghana can be eliminated through innovative startups. Weevils in the local Ghanaian language is ‘Akokono’ with a high consumption deficit to meet the numerous demands. The project will go a long way to mitigate unemployment and boost commodity supply.

  5. Interesting. Most people have never thought of going into insect farming, they see it as a pest. This project will help alot, to understand more about insect farming and also enlighten more people about the nutritious nature of the food insect.
    It can also combact malnutrition, since it will contribute a ceratin amount of protein to the meal when it is added.
    Nice work. All the best.

    1. Nice input, Adjei. I totally agree with you. A preliminary had already been done and it reflects some of your input. People think Palm Weevils cannot be cultivated and as an insect, some regard it as a pest but this project seeks to eliminate that thought and introduce insect farming to these areas.

      1. That’s nice to know. As an ecologist, every spp serves a purpose in its ecosystem. Others may see it harmful, others may regard it as a resource. Great project

  6. Wow great.work Boatemaa, Ghanaians love their palm weevils a.k.a akorkono. That is if I’m right, but I never knew it can actually be cultivated. Good work. But I think you should have a wider scope so far as the supply to communities are concern. I know your farm will be feeding more communities than you expect.

    1. Fiifi, yes it can be cultivated and we are going to implement it. Sure, suggestions we are receiving makes us believe we will feed millions in Ghana and possibly export to other countries. Thank you for the support.

  7. Woow, this is what I call creative thinking and besides many peoples llke palm weevil a lot but didn’t know it could be cultivated. I like your idea.

  8. This is a great idea, and I would really like to learn more about it. Is there any way I could contact the lady mentioned in this article?

  9. This is wonderful! I bet nobody ever thought of this! My attention was just drawn to the possibility of achieving great success via this project to help the nation and beyond! Very Impressive work!! All the best!

    1. No no no, laru004. The insect is known in equatorial regions – Southeast Asia, Africa and south America, due to their temperature requirements. However they can be cultivated in semi-tropics and other temperate regions.

  10. wow palm weevils larvae farming. what are great initiative, i desire being an oil palm producer in the near future . i will really love to know more

  11. Great idea…. I like your innovative approach to agriculture…… have you piloted it yet?…… nonetheless, you are change maker

  12. Creativity at its best…Ghana is very proud to have you..very laudable initiative….Great thought!!!

  13. What a waaw! This wonderful! This is what I call creativity at it best. Keep it up my dear. Let nothing stop you. You are full of ideas and these are people Ghana has been lacking since….. Keep on keeping on my dear and I know one day, you will surely be recognized.

      1. Hi I am at Okeyerekrom, a village where palm weevil larvae is really fancied by lot of adults but its a rare organism. Can you implement this in my community?

  14. Great project. This will help the development process of the country. God bless you for conceiving such a thought

      1. Ok. Okyerekrom is in Ashanti Region so kindly look at it. They have lots of palm farms.

    1. Thank you, Ezah. In your earlier comment you wanted us to come to your village. We will take a look at your village – Okyerekrom and decide whether to include that during our implementation phase.

  15. Woow, everyone says palm weevil is a delicacy down south of ghana. I hope this project works so that those of us up north of ghana can also have this delicacy. Since Palm plantations do not grow up north. Infact, I’m all in for this project. Nice initiatives Ms Boatemaa.

    1. Hi Ivan Ndego, you will surely enjoy ‘Akokono’ once we kick-start large scale implementation. The Northern sector has lots of impoverished rural communities and it is our target to feed them all. Thank you

  16. Great minds at work. This is a very laudable project. Keep the good work up. Really miss working with you all. All the best.

  17. Great minds at work. Big ups to you all. That’s a laudable project. Miss working with you all. All the best!

  18. I think this is a very wonderful project and I can’t wait to see its inception and hopefully being part of it. Thanks for this great initiative.

  19. the idea is just wow. Africa hold the future and it is only through such initiative that more young Africans will realize the greener pasture they have. This is one! Let Like, Share and do every thing it takes for Africa to keep the flame burning.

    1. Thank you for your commitment towards the success of this project. I can see fro your comment that you really have passion for the development of Africa and sure, Africa will rise if our youth works harder and smarter.

    1. Hi Prince, the strategy is already in place. For large scale implementation, we need some funds and that’s why we are here calling on everyone for their support. Truly, spoken, this will change lives. Thank you

  20. Thats great.Impressive project there.There should be a strategy to implement it and i think it’s gonna change lives to the best leve.Keep it up.

  21. Great insights and idea. Job well done. This Initiative is feasible and will go along way to touch lives of many. Let’s give all support and financial assistance. This is a moment Africa and Ghana needs idea like this to be executed.

    1. Hello, thank you for mentioning feasibility. We have conducted lots of preliminary surveys in the anticipated project communities and we have ensured that environmental and operational sustainability is incorporated to provide us a smooth long-term project. We look forward to receiving financial support.

      1. We are getting to a point some of us find a way round getting projects done without influence from our society and leaders. We need to take the bull by the horn. Truth is that you only yourself first to succeed in life. Live your dreams.

      2. Kwame, that’s a problem we all must fight to change. Let’s always push for support and take every little opportunity serious. Surely, we the youth, will emerge as transformational leaders of Africa.

  22. Great idea, we used to eat it whenever I visited my grandfather in the village at Akwadum near Koforidua in Ghana ; that was in the 1980s when he was alive. It was so delicious. We call it ‘Akokono’ in Twi.

    1. Yes, Gabriel. During our survey, lot of adults made reference to the 80s and early 90’s. Some people even presumed the organism is extinct. The local name is ‘Akokono’ for the Akans and they will love to have it back on their diet!

  23. In fact , this project must be supported. I have tasted some before in my village and it was very delicious. I support the project 100%.Wishing you all the best of luck!

  24. Well its a good initiative and very distinct.. i like that, but seems its more targetted at the rural areas , and to few rural locations. what of the urban areas where majority may not even know about how beneficial palm weevils are for consumption?and may not know palm weevils could be cultivated? Are you going create awareness in the urban areas or?

    1. Iris Nana Obeng, Thank you so much for your questions and inputs. Yes, we are targeting impoverished rural areas for now – in such places, money to buy protein rich source of food is a challenge and we envision to provide readily affordable nutritious food to them. For urban centers, we have marginally included that -for the trade and supply model. Education program is also included in the project prior to the commencement of the large scale cultivation.

  25. Well its a good initiative and very distinct.. i like that, but seems its more targetted at the rural areas , and to few rural locations. what of the urban areas where majority may not even know about how beneficial palm weevils are for consumption?and may not know palm weevils could be cultivated? Are you going to create awareness in the urban areas or?

  26. May God continue to give u more wisdom to explore cos is not easy to come out with such projects…Good job

  27. I’ve read through this project and it seems to be well described in terms of its focus. Great objectives. Nice work

  28. So so impressive. I had heard rumours about the possibility of cultivating this spp and you guys are making it happen in Ghana – where people enjoy it most.

  29. We need more comments and likes to win this, so y’all should share this with your network. Thumbs up to everyone who has supported so far. Your inputs are great and we are considering all the suggestions.

  30. So does this a laboratory based theory or practically feasible? I heard the larvae comes naturally on dying palm trees.

  31. It seems its much easier to comment than to like. This project is amazing, I wish there was a native Ghanaian on the panel. This palm weevil larvae is not easy to come by, mass production will really help.

    1. Very true! Its not easy to come by. Just after sharing this proposal on the various social media, most urban guys are asking whether palm weevils are still existing? This project will solve food insecurity issues.

  32. I watched a similar project to yours on focus on africa/bbc. I think it was in cameroun were an organisation is undertaking the palm weevil farming project. One of their goals is to feed malnutritioned children who are facing stunted growth condition in the rural areas. I think is a worthy course you are on. God Help you.

    1. Kojo, Adult Palm Weevils are found on palm trees – sometimes, the ones that has been fell for wine and can be easily collected – even by hand. If you have been to villages with palm plantation, you’ll see kids capture adult weevils and them on a broomstick. The local name in Akan dialect is ‘Asomorodwi’

  33. The palm weevil known in our local dialect as akokono will thank you for giving them such a huge platform. lol! I watched a similar project to yours on focus on africa/bbc were elsewhere in cameroun an organisation is embarking on palm weevil project. One of their goals is to feed malnutritioned children who are stunted in growth because of the akokono’s high protein level. God help you

  34. Am soo proud of your intuition, I hope you get all the needed assistance to let this become a reality. Atleast more youth would get employed. Great work God bless you all. All the best

  35. well, I really think sensitization goes on well to educate the target group on the nutritious benefit of the organism since the individual might find it quite awkward to adopt a whole new diet at a go.
    wish u grace. keep us updated.

  36. Palm Weevils are pollinators,they thus contributes positively to biodiversity of flora species. it a good project.

  37. I haven’t tasted these before. I hope to do so some day. I’m sure my friends will like to taste them as well. All the best…

  38. How are going to get the palm trunk, are u going to cut palm trees anytym u need the trunk for cultivation?

  39. Wow!!! Interesting project…and great initiative too. Nothing but best wished from Zim 🙂

  40. Ansah, your idea is excellent and very compatible to most African countries and other nations in Asia, Europe and America . Great job!

  41. Great to read about your project. I think it stands a higher chance of receiving funds if you get enough comments. Anyways, best of luck!

  42. well done Boatemaa, its a great idea n even though its gonna be tough bt i hope u make it to the top cos in the end it help curb most of the problems we facing in Gh. from food security to unemployment and a lot more. Best of luck sist.

  43. Palm Weevils seems to be a thing of the past in Ghana. People don’t see it anymore. Great project

  44. This will help reduce rural poverty and malnutrition. Its the best proposal I’ve read lately.

  45. Palm trunk is not total waste else where. Some utilize it for fibre or so. I’m not so sure. Using it for farming is an excellent idea.

  46. I thought people in west Africa didn’t fancy insect diets. Surprised to see this famous one. All the best.

  47. I visited Ghana summer 2014 and I recall some Ghanaian acting weird whenever I mention reptile and insect diets.
    I didn’t know you guys have your own special favorite. Tis must go commercial

  48. 24 years and you’re already a teaching assistant and a staff of an NGO.. That’s nice. Your project is conceptually perfect too

  49. I want to like but I don’t have a com accounts. Anyways, all the best! Your project is really amazing

  50. Won’t there be any negative social impact? Lets say children dropping out of school to trade the palm weevil larvae for money?

    1. No it wont. Its specifically mentioned in our proposal that both farming and trade of the species will be provided for unemployed adults or youth not students, if I may clarify. Thank you.

  51. I have heard the name before but never tasted it. I guess it will be great and impact these communities

  52. Unemployment solution in rural settlements. That’s is an exceptional idea considering the fact that you are providing food too.

  53. Every Ghanaian youth or adult will vote for this project because of the project objectives and the species being farmed. Share it via all platforms, you’ll more likes & comments to win

  54. Akokono is a delicacy in some parts of Brong Ahafo region too. So you can consider that.

  55. We’ve palm weevils in B’Faso too but we do not cultivate them. Eventually they just appear in the palm trees and we collect it

  56. Green Africa Youth Organization, you guys are really interested in food security. I checked your blog and saw your #WorldFoodDay event. I hope you get this grant

  57. This can go continental. Its very good project. You’ve my support from Brazil. We are equatorial too and have some palm plantations

    1. Planet Earth is dying because of our unfriendly environmental and agricultural practices. Its about time we, the youth, rise and save the planet. Thanks, Kate. Inspirational comment

  58. The animal looks like another larvae spp we feed on but I don’t think its palm weevil. Great concept – employment & food security

  59. Very environmental friendly. I researched into this species, they have low ecological footprint. I’m imagining this project going global

  60. Wishing you all the best for this new project! Keep up the great work for food security, economic empowerment of communities and the fight against climate change. Your project will contribute to many SDGs!

  61. Well, I think you should fund this project irrespective of number of comments/like. Its about the impact of $5,000 and this project can deliver that. Wishing your organization the best of luck!

  62. Great Project. We will be very glad if you win this, Green Africa Youth Organization

  63. Wonderful work, young woman. This is really nice. Palm farmers are not IT oriented, they would have voted you in! Nice work

  64. Palm Weevils reproduce very quick and therefore you can feed a lot of hungry families with this project. Nice

  65. Happy to read about this. I dont know the animal but I think you guys like it very much. I will come and taste it someday

  66. I believe this can go a long way to solving malnutrition among children especially.
    All the best guys

  67. Akokono, that is the local name. I am sure some old men in the urban centers will love to buy some.

  68. Alternative livelihood for rural youth. This will help reduce social vices and teenage pregnancy. Good work