Mophane worms have become a delicacy of choice in Botswana, and many in the country are now taking the business of collecting and selling the worms as a serious money making venture. A large number of residents of Topisi village, along the Gaborone-Francistown A1 road, have ventured into the business of collecting and selling mophane worms.
To the people of Topisi, the rainy season is welcome not only because it is good for their subsistence farming, but because it also signals an equally important time of the year, when the mophane worms resurface. To them the rainy season also signals a time when they relocate from the village to the bush so that they can collect and process the mophane worms. It is in the bush that they erect plastic shacks and brave the rains and the dangers of the bush, in an unwavering quest to deliver the mophane delicacy and satisfy the insatiable demand of the public, most of who are not even aware of the dangers and rigors involved in bringing the final products to their plates.
While others are busy collecting and processing the mophane worms in the bush, others also open temporary retail outlets along the A1 road, flagging down long distance travel vehicles and selling their wares to the town folk.
They use the most primitive forms of advertising, simply rushing to the road and waving their cups and bucketful of mophane worms as a way of attracting the town folk. But the fact is that this form of retailing works. Almost all the time the town folk simply stop their cars, buy their supply of mophane worms and drive on.
A standard mug, which carries 250grams, sells for P5. A 5 liter tin is usually filled by 20cups, and will therefore cost P100 pula.
This business has relieved many people from the clutches of poverty, and they use their incomes to improve their ways of life, which was in the past primarily dependent on subsistence farming. Thapelo Mosojane, one of the leading mophane retailers in Topisi, revealed that she can make as much as P200 per day selling mophane worms.