Marondera, (New Ziana)- Police in Mashonaland East Province have launched an awareness blitz to warn farmers about cattle rustling in the region, whose cases have shot up sharply in recent months.
Goromonzi and Seke top the list of targeted areas in the province, and meat from stolen livestock – particularly cattle – easily find its way into small private butcheries mainly in nearby Harare and Chitungwiza.
In an interview with Chaminuka News, the provincial police spokesman, Inspector Tendai Mwanza implored farmers to keep proper records of their livestock and to conduct head counts daily to counter stocktheft.
“Farmers are encouraged not to put too much trust in their workers, but should personally count their cattle before and after their return from the pastures. It is of major concern to us as police that livestock are left for longer periods in the hands of workers, exposing them to the risk of theft. We are therefore encouraging farmers to keep proper records of their livestock and to also count them often,” said Mwanza.
He said police had embarked on a massive awareness campaign in rural, resettlement and commercial farming areas to conscientize farmers on the need to jealously guard their livestock against cattle rustlers.
In the awareness campaign, Mwanza said police were focusing on the need for farmers to brand their livestock, and making sure that the animals were well secured at night.
He said farmers should also form syndicates, and belong to industry organisations for easy of tracing of their livestock in case of theft.
“As police, we are once again urging members of the public, especially farmers and livestock owners to cooperate fully with these farmer organisations in our quest to reduce stock theft in the province,” said Mwanza.
He also urged members of the public to report to their nearest police station any cases of suspicious dealings in meat, as some suspects sell the stolen meat in high density suburbs or at their houses.