With the rise of insects as a sustainable food source globally, and almost completely replacing meat, mopane worms become globally exported and used. With a protein content of 64% (Teffo, Toms & Eloff 2007) and their size and hardiness, the worms are adopted for local production by overseas countries with an interest in insect-based food and the means to recreate their habitat. Insect reliance has increased dramatically worldwide because of insects’ low emissions, high nutrition, low cost, and space efficiency. Mopane worms, particularly dried, become an invaluable addition to diets and drive the food revolution. Locally to Southern Africa, reforestation efforts to mopane woodland occur at a rapid scale, and strict regulations are put in place to prevent over-harvesting and regional extinction. With an estimated 1.6 million kg traded within South Africa alone, and hundreds of tons exported within southern Africa, from Botswana and South Africa to Zambia and Zimbabwe in the early years of the 21st century (Toms, 2003), the worm's use increases dramatically, and it becomes a vital tool in food security for Southern Africa. The demand created locally and internationally by the worms results in job creation: harvesters, forest planters, packagers, transporters, factory workers, and more. The resulting economic growth further aids food security and improves life for people in the region. Mopane worms’ use worldwide, in conjunction with crickets and other insects, results in a more efficient, eco-friendly, and economically sustainable way of dealing with food production.
Sources: Teffo, L.S., Toms, R.B., & Eloff, J.N.. (2007). Preliminary data on the nutritional composition of the edible stink-bug, Encosternum delegorguei Spinola, consumed in Limpopo province, South Africa. South African Journal of Science, 103(11-12), 434-436. Retrieved November 19, 2017, from http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532007000600003&lng=en&tlng=en Toms, R. (2003, December). Worming your way to a sustainable harvest. Retrieved November 19, 2017, from https://web.archive.org/web/20040329133222/http://spore.cta.int/spore108/spore108_brief.html