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Harvesting of mashonzha lasts for about 3 weeks (the exact date dependant on rainfall). In southern Africa there is usually 1 main harvest per year but with good rains a small second harvest can occur in April or May.
Traditionally, mashonzha has been harvested for own use by rural households and occasionally providing income for rural families across the region. There are suggestions that it has made quite a significant contribution to rural diets and most researchers agree that mashonzha contribute to the incomes of the rural poor.
Containing 60% protein and significant amounts of phosphorus, iron and calcium, it is unrivalled as an easily obtainable source of free food and an essential source of protein. For hundreds of years, rural communities in Africa have relied on mashonzha and other grubs as an essential source of protein. There is a long history of collecting edible caterpillars for food, to sell or to exchange with their neighbours for other necessities. 59ce067264