Zimbabwe is endowed with natural resources that include minerals, game, timber and abundant arable land among others. Its citizens therefore apart from benefiting from the exploitation of these God-given riches such as minerals, game and timber, can also engage in both crop and livestock farming.
The challenge therefore is to ensure that the exploitation of these natural resources is done in a sustainable way so that the present generation can bequeath these riches to future generations. It should therefore be incumbent upon each and every member of the community to ensure that sustainable methods are used to exploit our natural resources.
We want to commend Chief Nyangazonke of Matobo district in Matabeleland South for raising a red flag regarding the unsustainable methods being used to harvest amacimbi (mopane worms) in his area. This is a natural resource that must be harvested sustainably so that the people continue to enjoy this delicacy for many years to come.
According to the Chief, people from other areas have invaded his area and are indiscriminately cutting down the mopane trees to harvest amacimbi which is very worrying. What this means is that if this is allowed to continue, the amacimbi will be extinct very soon.
Chief Nyangazonke called on all outsiders harvesting the amacimbi to leave his area to allow locals to derive maximum benefits from their natural resources. This, in our view, might prove very difficult to enforce.
What should be the starting point is for Chief Nyangazonke’s people to organise themselves into groups and probably demarcate the catchment area into zones that are then allocated to the groups.
Each group will then have the responsibility of not only ensuring people use sustainable methods of harvesting amacimbi but should also guard its respective area against invaders. The people coming from outside the district or province should buy the amacimbi from locals at probably wholesale price so that there is a win, win situation.
The local leaders such as village heads, councillors and other such community leaders should assist the Chief to organise the people into the proposed groups. It is the responsibility of locals to ensure that natural resources are preserved and it is encouraging to note that Chief Nyangazonke and his people are concerned about the unsustainable methods being employed by “outsiders” to harvest amacimbi.
We want to once again implore the people of Matobo to implement organised and sustainable methods of harvesting amacimbi in order for them to continue enjoying the delicacy for many years to come. Amacimbi, as rightly observed by Chief Nyangazonke, can be a very good source of income for the locals.