THE proactive approach by the police has resulted in the decrease in the number of yaqona and dalo thefts on Taveuni.
Police recorded a total of 57 cases of yaqona theft from January to last month compared to 62 for the same period last year. During the same period a total of 40 cases of dalo theft were recorded, 33 less than the same period last year.
Spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said they had put in place stringent measures to ensure farmers were not robbed of their hard-earned sweat.
"This follows past trends where farmers are robbed of their produce by opportunists looking to earn quick money, especially as we head into the festive season," she said.
In a statement, Taveuni officer-in-charge ASP Tomasi Yabakiono said while it was encouraging to note the decrease in crop thefts, his officers had been warned against complacency.
"We have increased our agriculture beat and are getting out to know every farming community and all stakeholders to better understand the systems already in place in this million dollar industry," he said.
"Our focus is to ensure we eradicate the occurrence of these thefts and to successfully do that we need to put in checking mechanisms."
A meeting of stakeholders was conducted last week where agents and buyers were urged to keep registers to record all information about their farm transactions.
"This is especially in light of the reported dalo thefts whereby agents and buyers were also informed they could be charged for the offence of receiving if they fail to enquire about the origins of the produce sold to them," ASP Yabakiono said.
He said the concept had been endorsed and phase one was getting agents and buyers to register their business particulars.
"Important information such as the name of the dalo agents and buyers, their vehicle number, weight, time of transportation and dalo prices are to be noted down properly in this register.
"The register can be inspected by the police and by the office of the provincial administrator Taveuni at any time".
Officers would increase their patrols in the coming weeks.