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Regulate Phane harvesting

Theresa Mmolawa
Theresa Mmolawa

AP activist calls for controlled mophane worm harvesting

Alliance for Progressive activist and 2019 Parliamentary candidate for Francistown East, Theresa Mmolawa has called for a controlled harvesting of the popular mophane worm during the State of Emergency.

The AP activist told The Voice in an interview that she was deeply disturbed by the recent harassment of harvesters by the police.

“This is not even a political view, it is something that affects all of us across the party divide. We have to find a way to allow our people to continue harvesting the mophane worm which is a livelihood for thousands of families,” Mmolawa said.

She opines that just like farmers are allowed to continue working their fields in a controlled arrangement, the same courtesy should be extended to the harvesters of the highly nutritious and profitable worm.
“Nobody knows how long this situation will last. Life should continue after corona, but if we let a food source like phane, which has sustained families for so many years go, we may live to regret it,” warned Mmolawa.

The fiery politician suggested that government should allow people in certain villages with the abundance of the worm to harvest it.

“If the worm is found in Goshwe for instance, only residents from that village should be allowed to harvest it. They should be given permits just like farmers,” she said.

“After this lockdown we are all going to buy from them and families will not starve. We should never stop people from using natural resources to sustain themselves, but rather find a way to make the process safer for everyone,” Mmolawa said.

The politician who lost to Buti Billy of Botswana Democratic Party said if not careful Batswana will soon fight for food as the food hampers dished out by government come to an end.

“We should never make the mistake of relying on government. The Botswana Police should therefore be condemned for confiscating poor people’s harvest. In fact they should return that mophane harvest to the rightful owners,” charged Mmolawa.

She rounded off the interview by stating that while she appreciates government’s initiative of food hampers she still maintains that citizens should be allowed to harvest phane, morogo and any other indigenous local seasonal food items that may sustain the nation post Covid-19.

The veteran politician said she was also disturbed by the recent report published by the international Monetary Fund (IMF) on the outlook of the country’s domestic economic growth.

The IMF states in the report that Botswana’s economic outlook faces potential disruptions from COVID-19, most of which will affect Botswana through diamond and SACU revenue.

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