HUYE – Maize farmers in Mwogo wetland, Kigoma sector, Huye district have called on local leaders to assist them to combat the alarming cases of maize theft in the area.
According to farmers who talked to The New Times, thieves have formed organised teams that raid maize gardens at night, cutting down entire fields of the crop.
“On Tuesday night, we tried to arrest a group of thieves who were cutting down our maize but unfortunately they escaped with over half of our entire harvest,” said Joel Rukemanganizi, one of the maize farmers.
“These thieves always carry bags with them; most of this maize is sold off before it is even dry, a trend that is likely to cause hunger in the future.”
Cassien Karangwa, a resident of Karambi cell said that he suspects idle youths in the Cell to be behind the theft.
“We call for the intervention of local authorities to arrest these idle youths, stealing our maize has prompted us to harvest it before time,” Karangwa said.
However, the Executive Secretary of Karambi cell, Assoumani Birikumana, dismissed the theft claims. He said that some farmers are using it as a pretext to sell their crop before it has dried.
He added that they are sensitising farmers on the importance of selling dried maize. “We need to add value to the maize which we produce; this will result in increased earnings for farmers and proper storage.”
As part of the crop intensification programme, farmers were asked to focus on maize growing in Mwogo swamp.