Livestock farmers in Chavuma district in North-western province have expressed worry over the spike in cases of livestock theft in the area.
The farmers are now calling on the police to work hand in hand with the farming community to formulate crime prevention measures, such as the introduction of neighbourhood watch and the use of technology to tackle thefts on farms.
After getting fed up with being targets for criminals, including thieves and scammers, Josephine Muloji and her fellow farmers are prepared to embrace modern methods to protect their traditional way of life.
Ms. Muloji, an elderly farmer in the district, suggested that farmers use social media and whatsApp groups to keep local farmers informed of any suspicious activity in the area.
“Rural crime is a worry for all farmers but I am especially concerned about elderly farmers like me in our community who are more vulnerable to these crimes.
“My advice to all farmers is to remain vigilant and to take any possible measures to improve on-farm security to deter these criminals.
Another farmer, Justin Chiteta lamented that rural crime has continued to wreak havoc on farms especially on the west bank, causing not only financial but emotional pressures on farming families.
“We have had ladders, tools, chickens, goats, etc. stolen and because we have no police station on the west bank, these thieves that are coming in now are taking advantage of the situation because back then we had fewer cases of theft now it has become common.
Our poor farmers for example from Nguvu west, for one to reach Chavuma centre takes the whole day walking and still if one reaches the town center, going to Chingi where the police station is located is very far. No wonder other farmers opt to report these cases to village headmen but little is done for them,” Mr. Chiteta said.
Meanwhile, Acting District Commissioner, Kenny Mungendenge has called on the victims to exercise patience as the government works tirelessly to ensure that their issue is addressed before the end of the year.
He said people in the district move more than 10 kilometers to seek police services at Chavuma police station which is located near the Zambia–Angola border post.
Mr. Mungendenge said the government is working towards relocating the police station to the central business district.
He added that there is a need to enhance police patrols through the Constituency Development funds (CDF) by constructing new police stations on the west bank.
“Police offices are far from the people. Development is in town and we need security unlike walking 10 kilometers to the border post for police services, therefore famers should exercise patience as the government strives to handle their issues soon”, Mr. Mungendenge said.