Sustainability in the Philippines


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Purpose Built Breeding AreaHere there are several very small farms, in comparison to Chiangmai, scattered in different parts of the Philippines exclusively in very rural areas or small villages. The largest one is situated in the island of Bohol with breeding facilities scattered among family members' land.

Foodplants are cultivated in nearby available lands and are collected as and when needed; sometimes as often as everyday in the busiest time of the year. On this island Tending the Larvae and Food Plantsthere are also several other breeders who have small rearing cages and nurseries in their back garden. Most of these breeders have a very low income from other sources and therefore rely on butterfly farming to maintain a reasonable income for their family.

Other small farms that exclusively supply us with pupae are on the islands of Romblon,and Palawan. Again, on these islands, there are small suppliers breeding in their back garden as in the case in Bohol. Altogether these farms help several families, either for their full income or to supplement those with very low income; some breed full time and others work around 3 days a week to keep production sustainable.

Each island has a "mother farm" for which permits are required, both from the local and national government authorities, to operate. All the other little farms or "back garden breeders" are included and have to be specifically cited on the mother farm's permits so that they can operate legally. This is a procedure strictly implemented by the government to prevent individuals from catching butterflies in the wild (although it should be emphasised that without proper breeding, it would be impossible to sustain a business like this by merely "wild harvesting"). Idea Leuconoe Feeding

Leuconoe Caterpillars on FoodplantThe breeding programme: All the butterfly pupae are collected from farms twice aweek for export; they are transported to Manila, the capital, for a final quality check and for export licensing and documentation. The process for export documentation takes2 or 3 days which means ithas to be started few days prior to shipping day.

The operation in the Philippines requires several other full time employees; each has their own responsibilities - from dealing with legal requirements for farms and facilitating export documentation, organising internal transportation of butterfly pupae from farms to Manila, and the quality control checking and packing of the pupae for export.

In a country where the devastation of natural calamities have been aggravated by years of abuse of its own natural resources by its people, it is even more important that this kind of farming, a nature friendly one, is encouraged and practised.