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Mopane worm (Imbrasia belina) and rural household food security in Limpopo province, South Africa


  • L. J. S. Baiyegunhi

    () (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

  • B. B. Oppong

    (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

  • G. M. Senyolo

    (Tshwane University of Technology)


Abstract 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.

Suggested Citation

  • L. J. S. Baiyegunhi & B. B. Oppong & G. M. Senyolo, 2016. "Mopane worm (Imbrasia belina) and rural household food security in Limpopo province, South Africa," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 8(1), pages 153-165, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:ssefpa:v:8:y:2016:i:1:d:10.1007_s12571-015-0536-8
    DOI: 10.1007/s12571-015-0536-8

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    References listed on IDEAS

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