2013-2015: Project to sustain indigenous exploitation and farming of the larvae of the African palm weevil (Rhynchophorus phoenicis) in the Nyong basin of Cameroon
Project financed by CIFOR, under the FTA-CGIAR fund
LIFT in collaboration with the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) led a project on the socioeconomic contribution and experimental farming of grubs in the Nyong Basin area of Cameroon. The project was implemented using a participatory research approach during which local grub collectors were fully involved in socioeconomic studies and the experimental farming of grubs in huts constructed by LIFT.
During this project, it was observed that palm weevil grubs exploitation and trade represents 21% of all the economic activities (agriculture, fishing, hunting, etc.) in the project targeted area. The monthly average income generated by professional grub collectors vary between CFA 90,000 (USD 180) and CFA 300,000 (USD 600), representing 30 to 75% of their household income. Indigenous harvesting are done by systematically extracting them from the trunks of raffia and/or oil palms in the wild. Though these methods could helped eliminating the parasite palms, they are seasonal and satisfies only a domestic consumption and, at best, a small-size market trade. In some areas still, indigenous harvesting methods are unsustainable as it encourages collectors to clear-cut vast areas of raffia swamps in order to induce infestation in the decaying cut stems.
To solve this problem, this project fine-tuned a farming system that could be used to produce this edible grubs in plastic boxes at home. Yields per plastic box vary between 80 to 150 grubs and production cycle is 25 to 30 days. This farming system can be used in the production of grubs at any time of the year, thereby providing an opportunity for a continous year-round production of these nutrient-rich insects, while securing their place as an important protein and income source in Cameroon.