Children of the forests: Child gatherers and traders in non-wood forest products in the Mazowe Valley area in Zimbabwe
Non-wood forest products play a stupendous role in the lives of many people across the globe. The products contribute immensely to household economies as they are either consumed or sold. The object of this study was to give an account of child gatherers of non-wood forest products in the Mazowe Valley area in Zimbabwe. The study adopted a qualitative approach in which data were gathered from 27 children through participant observations and informal interviews. Children were found to actively participate in the collection and trading of non wood forest products. Child collectors of the products are ranged in age from 4 to 17 years. Some of the children lived in child headed households while some lived with their parents. The NWFPs collected include fodder, small animals, insects, mushroom and wild fruits. Income realized from the sale of the products was used for buying food, clothes, goodies, and paying school fees. It is therefore concluded that non-wood forest products contribute towards poverty reduction, enhance well-being and capabilities, ascertain livelihood adaptation, vulnerability and resilience and natural resource base sustainability.
Key Words: Non-wood forest products, children, child poverty, child food poverty
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