The Mopani worm season is upon us once again and the abundance of the delicacy in Matabeleland South Province has seen hundreds of people from as far as Rutenga, Wedza, Beitbridge and Bulawayo flocking the districts of Gwanda and West Nicholson to harvest the worms.
With most mine shafts currently submerged in water, the sight of panners carrying picks and shovels has temporarily been overtaken by the pursuit of the new ‘gold’ in the form of Mopani worms.
What is even more interesting is that temporary structures are sprouting every day as those harvesting the worms are promising to only leave the area after mopping up the last worm.
In an interview with the ZBC News, the women harvesters revealed that while others go out to harvest the worms, there are others who buy them either in cash or exchange them for kitchen utensils.
They expressed optimism that they will make a killing this time around as the season is looking good.
Forestry Commission Provincial Manager, Mr Bekezela Tshuma said they have been training local communities to harvest Mopani worms in a sustainable manner but the influx of people from different parts of the country is creating a challenge as the worms are being harvested prematurely.
The worms are normally harvested in April.
In some parts of Beitbridge traditional leaders have come up with by-laws that ensure that non locals who harvest Mopani worms donate part of their harvests so that the community benefits from its resource.