Gwanda Rural District Council (RDC) says it has crafted access and utilisation of natural resources by-laws that will among other things ensure the sustainable harvesting of Mopani worms.
With the highest occurrence of Mopani worms or Amacimbi being found in Gwanda, traders from various parts of the country often flock to the district to harvest the delicacy from November to December and March to April.
However, locals who depend on the delicacy for their livelihoods have been complaining about poor harvesting methods by outsiders, which include cutting down trees and collection of Mopani worms that have not fully matured.
In a move that is envisaged to address these concerns, Gwanda rural district council in partnership with other stakeholders has since drafted by-laws for sustainable harvesting methods and controlled access of non-timber forest products.
The Local Authority’s Natural Resources Management Officer, Sijabuliso Masango said, commercial Mopani worm harvesters will be expected to fork out $700 dollars for a permit that will be issued by the rural district council.
“Environmental sub-committees at the ward level will be working with the local leadership and other stakeholders to ensure that there is sustainable harvesting. We really hope this will help in curbing the problems faced in the past,” he said
The access and utilisation of natural resources regulations which harmonised the environmental management and natural resources by-laws also seek to tackle land degradation, soil erosion, illegal gold panning activities, stream bank cultivation and littering, among others.
This comes at a time when the draft access and utilisation of natural resources by-laws have been open for input from relevant stakeholders.
After consolidating the views of the stakeholders, the proposed piece of legislation will be forwarded to the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works for approval after which it will be gazetted by the Attorney General’s office.