Mangwe RDC to licence amacimbi harvesters

In a bid to promote the sustainable harvesting of Mopane worms, the Mangwe Rural District Council (RDC) has come up with by-laws which give locals the first priority in harvesting and processing the nutritious natural delicacy. 

“These by-laws may be cited as the Mangwe Rural District Council Mopane Worm [Mahonja/Amacimbi] Harvesting, Processing and Management By-Laws. They shall apply to all the areas under the jurisdiction of Mangwe Rural District Council,” read the by-laws. 

“The harvesting, degutting, cooking, salting and packaging of amacimbi shall only be a benefit for the locals. There shall be a trading center for mopane worms when the resource has been fully processed for the buyers to bid. Amacimbi harvesters/ buyers shall obtain permits from Council. The validity of the permit shall be monitored by traditional leaders, being supported by Environmental Sub-Committees at Village level.” 

The by-laws also specified that it shall be an offence for any locals to accommodate or allow non-permit holders to harvest the Mopane worms. 

“It shall be an offence for any local to accommodate an amacimbi non-permit holder from outside the district and all mopane worms harvested or purchased shall be forfeited to Council,” read the by-law. 

In an interview with CITE, Councillor for Mazwi Village Malaba Ward 7, Sitshengisiwe Ndlovu, said the development comes at an opportune time when the harvesting season is about to start. 

Cllr Ndlovu said, for a long time, the locals have been sidelined by people coming from various provinces who would harvest and leave with everything, and damage the environment.

“This is going to be of benefit to the locals. They will harvest the Mopane worms on their own, process them then find a buyer who will purchase them at a fair price. The challenge that has been there is that the people who came here took everything, leaving nothing for the locals. We were not getting anything out of the harvests. At least now they will be selling the Mopane worms at around ZAR500 per bucket which is a good price,” she said. 

“We would have people from as far as Mashonaland coming here to harvest the Mopane worms. They would put up tents everywhere and damage our environment. Also, when harvesting, they would cut down trees and burn down forests. Clearly, they had no respect for our environment. At least our local people know well that they have to collect those worms that would have matured and would have dropped onto the ground. They have a sense of belonging so they will protect our environment.” 

Cllr Ndlovu said headmen have been tasked with ensuring that no outsiders will come and harvest the Mopane worms at the expense of the locals. 

“We have tasked our local headmen to ensure that they monitor who harvests. They will be responsible for ensuring that the people who come are strictly local. There may be those who may choose to be corrupt and bring in people that we do not know, our headman will be on high alert to prevent such. If one is caught breaking the set rules and regulations, both the perpetrator and the person they connived with will be punished.

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