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Crocodile farmers prepare to supply foreign markets after the 2008 ban on exports was lifted by CITES last year. The approval to revoke the embargo on the export sale of crocodile skins was registered during the 65th CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) held in Geneva in July 2014.
With the new legislation in place, Madagascar has agreed not to export wild green hides as these are needed for the local commerce, and quotas have been placed for the first few years as the farming of eggs have only started in 2014. The annual export quota for skins and other products of crocodile origin is based on inventory results and farming potential. Currently, only certified shops can sell products of crocodile origin and up to four items per tourist buyer.
Given the attractive high dollar-per-centimetre of skin price ratio, some locals have attempted to form associations and create collective farms but, according to S Rabesihanaka, the Ministry of Environment, Ecology and Forests, they were discouraged by the huge amounts of investment necessary for such an enterprise and continue to hunt in the wild.
The protection of the species since the 2008 ban had led to a quick proliferation of crocodiles, resulting in human-animal conflicts and the local population destroying any eggs they found in the wild. It is estimated that there are about 30 crocodiles per kilometre of river in Madagascar.
Following the convention last year, Kering, the French luxury holding, joined forces with the ITC (International Trade Centre) to establish a multi-year support for the monitoring and sustainable management of the trade in Nile crocodiles from the country.
Although Madagascar has been succeeding in fulfilling the requirements for the ban to be officially lifted in the coming months, local farmers need better structure and resources to supply export markets adequately.
Sources: L’Express de Madagascar, Intracen, The Monitor.