Butterflies can earn farmers Sh70,000 monthly

Butterfly rearing can earn a farmer more than Sh70,000 in a month as demand for the insects int the export market remains high as well as local tourism.

Europe and USA have been the main export destinations for pupae and butterfly from Kenya.

Butterflies cost about Sh70 while pupae earn farmers Sh30.

Pupae are at transitional growth stages of the butterfly between hatched larvae and an adult. Depending on the species of a butterfly, the insects live for about one month within which an individual can lay up to 1,000 eggs.

A farmer who raises such hatched larvae to maturity within the next one month they can earn Sh70,000.

Mombasa-based Kipepeo Project buys the butterflies for export. Besides being an Arabuko Sokoke Forest conservation plan, more than 100,000 farmers are benefiting directly from the project.

In other places like the National Museums of Kenya, they are a local and international tourist attraction pets.

Richard Bennet of Kilifi County’s Mida Butterfly Farm says more farmers from various parts of the country could provide consistent market if they delved into this farming.

For one success in rearing these insects, they need to go for training at the National Museums Kenya.

A farmer starts by catching a few female butterflies which will be confined in a special room where they will lay eggs for hatching.Once the breeding place is set up the butterflies are introduced and they will lay eggs before they hatch into larvae.

Larvae moult into pupae, which can be exported in that stage or be left to mature to the butterfly stage for a higher cash fetch.

Just like rearing ostriches, snails and other games, one must obtain a license from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

The Kilifi County families are in 27 groups supporting the forest ecosystem which stretches into the Gede Ruins museums.

After buying the insects, Kipepeo Project exports them to Japan, UK, USA, among others, accompanied by a KWS permit.

A Kenyan tourists to Mombasa Butterfly House will pay Sh100 to enjoy the flying scenery while a child will part with Sh50. East African residents pay double that of their Kenyan counterparts.

Adult foreigners pay Sh500 while their children will part with half the amount.