Illegal phane harvesters outsmart beneficiaries


SELEBI-PHIKWE: Beneficiaries of the phane harvest packaging under the poverty eradication programmes have little to celebrate. The programme is riddled with illegal phane harvesters and exploitation on those who take their little harvested worms in exchange for alcohol and food.

Fifty-six-year-old beneficiary, Gabobofane Nthomphe was enrolled into the programme in 2012 and got assisted with a package that comprises tent, 25kg three-legged pot, 250-litre drum, food basket and transport to and from the harvest camp. She said first of all as harvesters they establish where the worm is then inform the Department of Forestry and Range Resource who would then issue permits to harvest when the worm is fully mature.

She said phane is a valuable asset that has huge economic benefits citing that she managed to build a two-roomed house for her family through phane proceeds.  She further said that on a good season phane economically sustains her through to the next harvest season.  However, her main concern is that there is no stringent measure to clamp down on illegal harvesters who often dominate the harvest areas and often harvest even the baby worms that are not mature enough to be eaten.  Some even go to the extent of unearthing the worms that are at a stage of reproducing, which has the potential to render the worm extinct in the near future.

Editor's Comment
Women in Politics caucus NGO, a welcome development

In the 2014 General Election, women who stood for parliamentary elections were a mere 17 out of a total of 192 aspirants, and sadly the number dropped to 11 out of 210 parliamentary aspirants in the 2019 General Election. Hopefully, registration of the Women in Politics Caucus will give women the necessary support to join politics. While things were slowly improving, women for a long time were at the receiving end as compared to their male...

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