The Zimbabwe Republic Police has urged farmers within the Great Dyke to brand their cattle following an increase in stock theft cases in the past few days.
Theft of livestock is a growing challenge for farmers within the Great Dyke with cases reported every three days hence the police are calling on farmers in the region to brand their cattle as repeatedly advised by several government departments.
Speaking to Great Dyke News 24, Zvishavane ZRP’s Assistant Inspector Respect Manyuchi urged farmers to apply for personal brand marks for their cattle for easy identification of their beasts when stolen.
The traditional practice of allowing cattle, goats, and sheep to roam free in the post harvest season makes them easy targets for the rustlers.
Livestock theft costs farmers millions of dollars each year, damages the agricultural economy, and negatively impacts food security.
The modus operandi of stock thieves has transformed from stealing for survival to looting for sale.
If for survival, only a few animals are stolen or slaughtered, with the thieves taking what they can carry and leaving the carcasses behind.
Organised syndicates, plan their operations carefully, and drive large herds of cattle in one night. In some instances, they collude with farmworkers and farmers in neighboring countries.
Theft of livestock is a growing challenge for farmers with statistics showing that in 2018 alone 31 952 cases were reported stolen in Zimbabwe.