By ZBC Reporter
MACADAMIA nuts farmers in Chipinge have called for deterrent sentences for those convicted of theft involving the export product.
In 2019, a Statutory Instrument regulating the macadamia nuts industry was put in place much to the delight of farmers who for long had been calling for legislation governing their operations.
With the macadamia nuts marketing season now underway, the farmers are however not convinced about the effectiveness of fines and the period of imprisonment for theft offenders which does not exceed level 4.
Patron of the Macadamia Nuts Association of Zimbabwe Dr Win Mlambo says the growth of the industry is underpinned by the strength of its legislative framework.
It is a first step in the right direction but looking back for the past three years we have seen a major setback in terms of its marketing strength. The SI is lenient in punishing offenders because the sentence does not exceed level 4 which generally does not translate to theft reduction, said Mlambo.
Another prominent farmer, James Maisiri spoke on the negative impact of side marketing.
Small scale farmers are conniving with thieves. This is one issue that we also want to amend in the statutory instrument, he noted.
Meanwhile, the farmers have projected a yield of between 8 and 10 thousand metric tonnes this season following good rains received this year.