Sustainable Butterfly Farming
Exotic butterflies are lucrative market at this time; collectors and museums pay up to $28,000 for a single specimen. West Papua can lay claim to some of the rarest butterfly species in the world. Despite the lack of global market figures, as a means of comparison, a single commercial farm in Costa Rica had annual revenues of over $750,000. Ocean Positive’s first community project is the creation of a sustainable, small-scale butterfly farm, near one of West Papua’s high-profile conservation sites: the leatherback sea turtle nesting beaches on the Island’s north coast. Entomologist Henry Martinez, a specialist in butterfly biology, will provide community members the necessary training and hardware to build and operate the butterfly farm. Chrysalises (larvae) of market value butterflies will be bred and shipped via FedEx from the local airport to export markets in Switzerland, where they will be hatched for display. The proposed business model is simple, with low investment and small overhead costs. The main risks of this project are related to transportation, but similar models from Papua New Guinea demonstrate we can deliver the products on time to our European customers with minimal financial losses.