Mopane worm (Imbrasia belina) and rural household food security in Limpopo province, South Africa
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Rural households in South Africa are vulnerable to food and income adversity. As a result, they adopt a range of livelihoods strategies, including consumption and trade of woodland resources to improve their living standards. Mopane worms (caterpillars of the Emperor Moth Imbrasia belina) have been identified as important to rural livelihoods, as an alternative land-use option as well as in fulfilling an important food security function. Whilst mopane worms may contribute to food security, this safety-net function needs more critical and quantitative investigation. This study examined the relationship between mopane worm consumption and household’s food security in the Limpopo Province, South Africa using the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) and the Tobit regression model based on a household survey of 120 respondents. The result from HFIAS showed that about 52 % of the households were severely food insecure, while others were either mildly or moderately food insecure. Only 16 % of the households were food secure. The Tobit regression model estimates show that proxy variables (i.e. income from mopane worm trade and the frequency of mopane worm consumption) measuring the contribution of mopane worms to rural household food security are statistically significant factors influencing household food insecurity in the study area. Implications for policy are discussed.
KeywordsNTFPs Mopane worm Consumption Food security HFIAS Tobit regression
The college of Agriculture, Engineering and science, University of KwaZulu-Natal is acknowledged for funding this study through its postgraduate student bursary. We also thank all the households in the study area that participated in the survey.
Compliance with ethical standards
Ethical clearance for this study (Ref No: HSS/0422/013 M) was obtained from the University of KwaZulu-Natal Research Office for the study.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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