Tawanda Mangoma in CHIREDZI
Traditional leaders in Chiredzi have lamented the rampant logging of trees which they say is leading to the extinction of Mopane worms, a popular traditional delicacy in the Lowveld.
The leaders called on Government and the Environmental Management Agency to clamp down on wanton cutting down of trees, warning that some parts of Chiredzi, Zaka and Bikita could become deserts unless something is done to avert the catastrophe.
Speaking during an all stakeholders meeting here recently, Chief Romwe (Mr Clemence Madzingo) expressed alarm at the rate of deforestation in his area and surrounding communities.
He lamented the near-extinction of Mopane worms which were both a delicacy and a source of income for hard-pressed villagers in parts of Bikita, Zaka and Chiredzi.
“We used to harvest tonnes of Mopane worms every year here (Chiredzi), but all this is now history,” he said. “The rate at which trees are being converted into charcoal and the actual logging of trees for firewood is slowly turning this district into a desert.”
Chief Romwe said there was need for a holistic approach towards addressing the plight of rural communities by coming up with sustainable projects.
“Surely, we have to view this issue with an open mind,” he said. “The villagers are not destroying the environment for fun, they are hungry, that is why they are selling firewood and charcoal.
“This, however, is not sustainable, we want the Government and other relevant arms of the State to help the communities to start income-generating projects.