The theft of Macadamia nuts has emerged as the biggest threat to the viable farming venture amid calls from farmers in Chipinge for more to be done to protect the cash crop.

The ever-growing popularity of Chipinge’s diamond, the Macadamia nuts, has also turned to be a challenge to the farmers, with armed thieves targeting the plant on the prowl in the district.This has resulted in farmers calling for deterrent measures to be put in place to protect the cash crop.

“In comparison to last season we are happy to say there is an improvement but cases of theft are still very bad especially towards the end of the harvesting season because many thieves now concentrate on the few remaining farmers who are still harvesting ,” said Patron of the Macadamia Producers Association, Dr Win Mlambo.

“It appears like its organised and formalised theft where they come in groups, armed and dangerous. This was because initially we did not have a Statutory Instrument that protects macadamia. However, it is lenient to thieves compared to the value macadamia nuts have,”  “said farmer Patrick Mkwambeni.

Officer Commanding Chipinge District Chief Superintendent Trustworthy Makunike concurred with the farmers urging all stakeholders to work together.

“A lot of patrols, bicycle and car patrols were dispatched in the area day and night and with the help of other farmers we managed to arrest quite a number of thieves. We request other stakeholders to come together so that we protect our nuts, which is what Chipinge is known for,” Chief Superintendent Makunike said.

A Statutory Instrument is already in place to guard against theft of the cash crop and regulate production to sustain the growth of the industry.