Butterfly Farming Term Paper

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butterfly farming among Tanzanian villagers in the vicinity of Amani town. Butterfly farming has been examined by many researchers as a means of sustainable income in many regions of Africa. Butterfly farming consists of breeding butterflies as a means of sustainable income and as a tool for forestry conservation.

The Amani butterfly enterprise was explored as a means of opportunity among low or no income villagers looking for an opportunity to support their families and support sustainable living enterprises. As an added bonus, the case study showed that butterfly farming is a surprise tool for conservationism. It provides sustainable income and also contributes to conservationism. The numbers of villagers interested in butterfly farming continues to grow not only in Tanzania today but throughout many villages nearby.

What is Butterfly Farming

Butterfly farming is a sect of land that is used to grow and prosper butterflies of various shapes. The farms are generally climate controlled. Butterfly farms preserve the natural habitat of butterflies so that local ranchers become protectors of the forests in which butterflies are raised. Butterfly farming can concentrate on particular species of butterflies, thus is often much localized; some focus on rare species of butterflies, thus making the raising of certain species very profitable. Some butterflies are raised for collective purposes; others for gardening; many times butterfly farms encourage reforestation (Mayaka, Hendricks, Wesseler & Prins, 2005). Often gardens much include rich plants so that butterflies remain in the areas they are grown within. Butterflies much rely on specific species of plants in which to thrive. Well established farms may allow butterflies and pupae to harvest daily (Marcus, 2001). Biologists may also have a unique interest in the species of butterflies raised on butterfly farms.

Butterfly Farming and Sustainable Living

The commercialization of butterflies has not always been viewed as a sustainable form of capital. However in recent years many farmers have realized butterfly farming as a profitable business and means of providing verifiable income for their families and as a method of livelihood. Butterfly farmers also express their livelihood as a form of conservation, noting their ability to help preserve the environment and species, and are more likely to participate in conservation behaviors (Marcus, 2001). This is because the harvesting and breeding of butterflies necessitates great care for the environment in which butterflies are bred in.

Butterfly farming income was a good predictor of conservation type behaviors in fact. Butterfly farming relies on natural forests with few inputs; however these inputs require little of the forest products available in natural forests (Marcus, 2001). Scurrah-Ehrhard & Blomley (2006) note that Tanzania villagers within the vicinity of Amani town took part in the Amani Butterfly enterprise and found it opened the doors of many opportunities they never before would have imagined. This paper reviews the case study of the Amani project and the effects Butterfly farming had on villagers participating in Butterfly farming.

Amani Case Study

Butterfly farming was recently introduced to Tanzania. Thus far butterfly farming in Tanzania has proven successfully, although it will have to be studied for many more years to determine whether or not it will continue to be sustainable as governments change as do access to forest. It is likely however that it will continue to grow as villagers continue to benefit from the industry.

Former to participating in the butterfly project, Tanzanian's typically made a living on small cash crops and struggled to live on less than one dollar a day. Prior to taking part in the butterfly project, most butterfly farmers were mocked for their interest in the project; yet many could not pay for their children's school fees, build brick homes or save for the future. This no longer happens however, as most butterfly farmers have been very successful. Taking part in the butterfly farming project with Amani changed all of this. During the first year alone Tanzanian's were able to make enough monthly income to pay for modest amounts of labor. Women were able to participate in butterfly farming and still take care of daily household chores. In fact, most butterfly farmers are women, as they are able to balance family and work quite easily. Many now recommend butterfly farming as a successful way of living. It is looked on as an honorable enterprise.

The Amani Butterfly Enterprise because known as the ABE. Tanzania became a good area for the butterfly project namely because there is an estimated 33 million hectares of forested land that is "largely unprotected and outside government forest reserved" and National Forest Policy "recognizes this and provides incentives for forest management at the lowest level of local government -- the village" (Scurrah-Ehrhard & Blomley 2006). According to Wily (2000) it also has a more advanced community forest jurisdiction in Africa. The ABE has several relationships with supporting organizations that would work with villagers to help sustain butterfly farming; these include the District Natural Resources Office, the District Agricultural Office, the Amani Natural Reserve Conservator, the Longuza Forest Reserve Manager, and the District Executive Director of Muheza (Scurrah-Ehrard & Blomley, 2006, Wily, 2000).

For butterfly farming to succeed, villages in outlying regions would have to learn breeding techniques, rather than capture techniques, because the capital is made in breeding (Wily, 2000). Once butterflies are bred, they can be sold to various markets and industries. Sustainable livelihood techniques and communication among conservators is also necessary to help avoid frictions between local forest authorities and to guarantee forest access to individuals that are farming. There is no guarantee that butterfly farming will succeed in the long-term, but so far efforts to continue butterfly farming and to enact conservation efforts have been successful. At present there are activities in place to help drive and sustain what are known as "host plan nurseries" to help "reduce butterfly farmers' dependency on nearby forests" so that butterfly farming can be a more self-sustainable industry in Tanzania (Morgan-Brown & Saidi, 2005).

Private sector butterfly farming could become an issue. As with any market, when privatization comes in, greater control comes in. Many people may lose the access they have to the market if private companies were to come in and take over. Of course, the success of butterfly farming in Tanzania among the Amani suggests that there is a huge potential market for butterfly farming throughout Africa, in many untapped areas. Privatization may not be able to do anything much at this point.

There are however, according to this case study, pre-requisites to successful butterfly farming startups (Morgan-Brown & Saidi, 2005). These include funding sources, which are necessary to cover the cost of starting a butterfly farm, training for butterfly farmers, a plan for implementation including establishment of independence of the future management of the farm, and a management style that is adaptive in nature that can adapt to and manage potential barriers to communication that may arise in the future (New, 1997; Morgan-Brown & Saidi, 2005; Millinga, 2003). It is likely with proper organization however, that all of these requirements could be easily met. If this were the case, butterfly farming could easily become a very profitable industry.


There is much potential for butterfly farming in Africa, as evidenced by the Amani project in Tanzania. Butterfly farming has the potential to build conservation efforts, and toward building physical and social capital by building the infrastructure and by creating development opportunities for butterfly farmers (Scurrah-Ehrhard & Blomley, 2006). Butterfly farming can take advantage of the potential for the sustainable use of forest resources; however there are many challenges butterfly farmers face including the costs associated with starting a farm, and the risks associated with potentially losing the valuable forests farmers invest in when they begin farming.

There is also accountability associated with managing a butterfly farm. The individual that first invests in…[continue]

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