Chiredzi – Sugarcane farmer have appealed to government to craft a law aimed specifically at punishing sugarcane thieves following a dramatic increase in sugarcane theft this year.
Addmore Veterai, who is the chairman of Zimbabwe Sugarcane Development Association (ZSDA), bemoaned the spate of sugarcane theft over the months.
He revealed cane thieves are on the increase this year saying there is need for the government to make a law which punishes the cane thieves severely.
“Sugarcane production here is harmed by the increase of cane thieves especially this year due to drought which has increased levels of destitution. We have tried everything to put an end to this but it seems the thieves are increasing in number every day and we are appealing to government to set aside a law which punishes severely punishes offender because they are disadvantaging the sugarcane farmer,” said Veterai.
Currently, theft offenses are punishable under the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
Veterai also said cane yields are most likely to take a nosedive as the thieves are increasingly becoming more daring in their activities.
He said it was difficult to track the thieves because they are usually armed with spears and dogs and most of them move at night, making it almost impossible for an average cane farmer to apprehend them.
“It is difficult to track these thieves because most of them would be armed, and they move around with dogs. Yes we have security guards but we do not have enough to cater for the increase of cane thieves,” said Veterai.
Mike Bimha the Minister of Industry and Commerce urged cane farmers to s lobby for a law which will protect them against cane thieves.
“I think it’s a serious thing and what you should do as farmers is to sit down and lobby for that law,” said Bimha during a tour of small to medium sugarcane farms.
Meanwhile, TellZim News crew discovered that the stolen cane is sold at a low cost of as little as 10 cents per cane.news