I 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.
Moreover, 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.
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