TRADITIONAL leaders should help formulate by-laws to protect natural resources in their areas and educate their subjects on the dangers of random harvests, which destroy the environment, Beitbridge district administrator Kilibone Ndou said yesterday.
BY OWN CORRESPONDENT
Ndou was speaking on the role of the Local Government, Public Construction and National Housing ministry at a one-day workshop dubbed Mopane Worms Indaba hosted by Bio Hub Trust focussing on the exploitation of mopane worms, known as amacimbi.
She asked chiefs and headmen to be at the forefront of informing villagers of their rights and benefits of protecting the environment, including amacimbi harvests.
“Traditional leaders should co-ordinate development activities in their areas and ensure use of these for sustained development,” she said.
“Long back, chiefs controlled when harvests of mopane worms could start, but now, it’s so disorderly and must be corrected.”
Beitbridge is one of the few districts in the country where there is a high incidence of mopane worms, a source of nutrition and economic empowerment and that has caught government and other stakeholders’ attention.
Of late, there is a general consensus on the great potential the development of the mopane worm industry has.
Recently, the African Development Bank funded a $100 000 mopane worm processing plant in Beitbridge.
Amacimbi attracted thousands of exploiters, who thronged Beitbridge and Gwanda districts to harvest the delicacy, but that has come with destruction of the environment.
Ndou said chiefs and headmen should dictate how these worms should be harvested and ensure locals benefit.
Bio Hub Trust is a research institution on the management of the environment.
Already, the trust is partnering villagers in the creation of animal feed and reforestation.
Ndou said the chiefs should support developmental projects and protect infrastructure.
Some chiefs, who attended the workshop, complained about the rampant cutting of mopane trees on which the worms feed.