Marondera(Chaminuka-New Ziana) -As theft of livestock continues to rise in Mashonaland East, police are urging commercial and communal farmers to brand their cattle in order to minimise such cases.
Livestock branding is a technique for marking livestock so as to identify the owner.
Originally, livestock branding only referred to hot branding large stock with a branding iron, though the term now includes alternative techniques.
Other forms of livestock identification include freeze branding, inner lip or ear tattoos, earmarking, ear tagging, and radio-frequency identification (RFID), tagging with a microchip implant.
In a speech read on his behalf by assistant commissioner Ndofandaenda Jaboon at a cattle branding re-launch program at Glorvina Primary School in Beatrice, Officer Commanding Mashonaland East, commissioner Erasmus Makodza said branding cattle assisted farmers to protect their livestock.
This year, a total of 1 051 cattle were reported to have been stolen compared to 984 the previous year with only 201 recovered while at least 136 criminals were arrested for the offences.
“It is common knowledge among African people that from time immemorial to this day, we continue to view cattle as a symbol of wealth. The irreplaceable value of cattle demands that all stakeholders join hands and work towards a common cause of safeguarding this endeared wealth in order to protect our national herd,” said commissioner Makodza.
“This unparalleled dedication to safeguard cattle as one of the pillars that sustain the country’s economy dovetails with the second republic’s important spectre, Command Agriculture. The priceless value of livestock particularly from the household level has caused the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to market this cattle branding re-launch programme which places profound priority on both commercial and peasant farmers in acquiring both brand certificates and brand irons. The consequential objective of the programme being that of protecting this valuable asset,” he said.
He noted that over the years, stock thieves had benefited immensely by perpetuating their criminal activities in the absence of identification marks on cattle especially across villages and farms hence the police had found it prudent to undertake the cattle branding program in order to preserve and protect cattle from being stolen as well as guarding against the spread of diseases.
Commissioner Makodza added: “In this regard, a registered brand mark is a necessity. Most importantly, the presence of a brand mark allows the buyer of cattle to verify whether the seller is the authentic owner and also assists the owner or the police to identify the cattle in case it is stolen and recovered. let me take this opportunity to remind you that, our cattle clearance process is absolutely free. At no time is a member of the public obliged to pay for the services to the police when you intend to either sale or buy cattle among yourselves.”
Meanwhile, commissioner Makodza reiterated that the police did not condone corrupt elements within the force.
He said: “The ZRP, as an organisation, does not brood corrupt individuals. Let us all desist from corrupt activities and I urge you to name and shame all those who continue to engage in corrupt activities. As police we have put measures to get rid of rogue elements within our rank and file who engage in these unwarranted activities.”