Harvesting of Mopani worms, which fetch high prices in the market, has become a source of temporary income for villagers in Bulilima, Matabeleland South Province at a time when many unemployed Zimbabweans are living poverty.
The impact of a crippling drought in Madlambudzi, will be minimised by the abundance of Mopani worms, popularly known as Mahonja or amacimbi in TjiKalanga and IsiNdebele respectively.
A 20-litre bucket of Mopani worms is being sold for R1, 500 an equivalent of US$100 while some people sell a coffee mug of amacimbi at R20 or R25.
CITE this week caught up with a villager from Tsukuru area under Chief Madlambudzi, Bakidzanani Dube, who disclosed that the harvesting of the special delicacy was ongoing, with so many people making a killing out it.
Dube said the amacimbi also known as caterpillars in English were in abundance in Madlambudzi areas of Mphugwi, Tsukuru and Hingwe villages.
“The harvesting season began around the 18th of December in 2019 and it is likely to end at the end of the month of January,” said Dube.
“If I am to express it in these terms, amacimbi for that community is gold. It is green gold because you are going to realise that a lot of people are unemployed there, while a few people as much as they are unemployed have relatives who are working in the diaspora but not everyone.”
Dube added: “So given this situation, which demands especially foreign currency, you are going to realise that harvesting amacimbi has become the general source of employment for many villagers in that area because it has improved their lives a lot. From harvesting amacimbi, they are able to buy essentials that they do not have, from the harvesting of amacimbi they are able to send their children to school especially looking at the demanding process of sending a form one pupil to school or an ECD pupil or a Lower Sixth pupil to school.”
Meanwhile, Bulawayo residents are also flocking the area around Solusi University to harvest amacimbi for both consumption and sale.
In the past there have been tensions in areas where amacimbi are harvested between locals and outsiders, a development which last year prompted the Gwanda Rural District Council to draft amacimbi harvesting by-law.