According to a Chinhoyi University of Technology Senior Lecturer and Programme Co-ordinator for the MSc in Post-Harvest Technology degree programme Dr. Robert Musundire , other researchers such as I. M. Osuga, X. Chesoto, J. Irungu and B.Torto, research shows that Edible Stink Bugs or "Harurwa" in the local vernacular have high levels of essential nutrients and anti-oxidants.
The edible stink bug Encosternum delegorguei, commonly referred to as "harurwa" is widely consumed in South-eastern districts of Zimbabwe. In Bikita and under the Mazungunye chieftainship of Moyo/Gono sub tribe, these insects are highly regarded as food and are considered as an annual blessing from forefathers. Annual occurrence (from April to September) of these insects is glorified in song and dance and beer festivals are conducted as thanksgiving.
The Ndebele and many other sub tribes which include the Zezuru, Manyika and Korekore are always puzzled by value attached to these bugs. Firstly, they cannot cope with the offensive smell and secondly consumption of these bugs is accompanied by shedding of tears. The "Ndebele" call them "umtshipela" while the Zezuru have coined a term "Twu ruma tunodyiwa munhu achichema"
On the other hand, on their way from Masvingo to Mutare and at Nyika growth point (Bikita), "Wasu" doesn't seem to pay attention to "Wezhira" who sells these bugs to earn a living.
Indeed all these people are in darkness. The ancestors, as the locals believe, might have brought more than just food to marginalized communities of Bikita. A recent study by Dr Robert Musundire in collaboration with scientists at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), has confirmed the nutritional importance of these edible bugs. In a paper published in the current PLoS ONE journal (PLOS ONE: DOI:10.1371/journal.ponc.0145914), Dr Musundire and fellow researchers report that the stink bug is a rich source of nutrients and anti-oxidants, and a vital component in improving food and nutritional security, as well as the incomes of rural communities
The research showed that the bug is a rich source of fatty acids, including seven that are considered essential for human nutrition and health. The insects also contain some flavonoids, a nutrient group most famous for its antioxidant and anti-inflamatory health benefits. "Harurwa" provides 12 amino acids, three of which are often lacking in the predominantly cereal-based diets consumed in many parts of Africa. Cure protein and fats are also in high quantities, and although it is not a great source of minerals, it contains phosphorus, in relatively highly levels. This latter aspect provides additional hidden treasures to male consumers. . .......more