THE harvesting and selling of mopani worms has become a lucrative business and is no longer limited to areas formerly known as Owanboland.
As people flock to the forests to harvest the nutritious and delicious worms, traditional authorities try, by all means, to maintain some kind of order not only to ensure sustainability but also to prevent acts that might cause damage to the environment.
The Omaruru based Zaraeua Traditional Authority (ZTA) is the latest addition to the long list of traditional authorities that issue permits to those who wish to harvest mopani worms.
The permits issued by the ZTA are valid for localities such as Okanuanambuku, Okamaere, Omutiuanduko, Otjozondjou, Otjiperongo and the surrounding areas.
According to a written harvester’s contract, the following conditions must be met:
– Each harvester pays N$60 for a permit. No permit, no harvesting.
– Littering and damage to trees are strictly prohibited.
– Harvesters must remain together at one campsite.
– The ZTA is not to be held liable for any attacks by wild animals such as elephants.
The Namibian police and the environment ministry officials got involved recently after some harvesters strayed into the Etosha National Park.
A big number of containers and bags of mopani worms were confiscated and the harvesters were expelled from the Park with a stern warning not to repeat the offence.