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Cattle thefts rife

Ropate Valemei
Wednesday, February 13, 2013

THE Yaqara Pastoral Company Limited loses about 5 per cent of its cattle herd every year to theft.

This was one of the major challenges the company faced other than the fact that reported cases had not been resolved.

Company chairman Peter Drysdale said stakeholders including the livestock council and players in the agricultural sector had called for a more aggressive resolution.

"We have actual positive identification and actual names that we provided to the police where we have observed the guys doing the thieving," he said.

"At one stage about three years ago, there was theft on a grand scale. I'm talking hundreds of thefts when squatters camped on the edge of our stage and stole on a grand scale," he said.

Even though the number of theft incidents had declined, he said they still experienced a loss in cattle numbers by 3-5 per cent because of the act.

Meanwhile, Mr Drysdale said they had set their sights on preserving pastures this year with plans to improve the security around their premises.

"Our sheep herd is increasing and lambing rate is about 120 per cent. You might say how can this be more than 100 per cent? This is because they are having twins," he said.

"We are doing a refine calculation on the relative yield of sheep versus cattle but it's looking good for sheep."

Fiji Police Force spokesman, Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri said Tavua Police have confirmed the report of thefts over the past few years at the pastoral sites.

Inspector Sokomuri said they had found that missing cattle were always reported during the festive season.

"The reported case of missing cattle were recorded during Christmas, new year and other festive seasons every year."

He said some thieves were taken to task while investigations continued. He added livestock thefts were common and they would hunt down every suspected culprit.





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