Mining firm rolls out butterfly farming in Kwale
Good tidings are on the way for new butterfly farmers in Kwale County after the African Butterfly Research Institute in partnership with mining company Base Titanium rolled out a butterfly farming initiative.
The initiative aims at improving the quality of science learning in the county schools and provide an income for local communities.
The programme which was launched under Base Titanium’s environmental programmes has registered 30 farmers from Fihoni and Magaoni in Msambweni Constituency in a trial that will see participants sell the butterflies to local and international markets.
According to Steve Collins a director at African Butterfly Research Institute said, a partnership had been reached with the London Natural History Museum and Cambridge University to buy pupae from the farmers at competitive prices.
It was revealed that farmers can fetch between Sh 30 to Sh 80 per pupae depending on the species and the market.
Some of the pupae will also be sold at the Gede Centre on Kenya’s north coast in Kilifi County.
“This butterfly project is one of the numerous environmental programmes that we run in partnership with our local community. We involve the community to create awareness on environmental conservation and to also boost their livelihoods,'' Michael Muema, Environment Manager at Base Titanium said.
He added that a healthy butterfly population indicates a healthy and clean environment as they cannot survive in polluted areas.
Base Titanium runs a comprehensive suite of environment programmes that includes; a recycling programme which has seen the company donate school-desks, school bags and shopping bags to the community.
There also exists a rehabilitation programme where the community provides grass and legume seeds that can be used to plant around areas being rehabilitated following mining activities.
Currently, the butterflies will be reared at the company’s environment department premises as the community is being trained and provided with all equipment including a flying house where the butterflies will be caged.
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Base TitaniumKwale CountyAfrican Butterfly Research InstituteSteve CollinsLondon Natural History Museum