Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Residents of Ntoroko District have established vigilante groups to protect their vanilla gardens from thieves.
The groups comprises of vanilla growers and other members of the community. They were formed in Karugutu town council and in the sub-counties of Nombe and Karugutu where vanilla thefts are rampant.
Since the formation of the groups three months ago, theft of vanilla in the district has reduced.
According to Ntoroko District Police Commander, Apollo Kyangugu, for the past two months, they have not recorded any cases of theft in the district. He explains that a number of thieves were convicted and serving their sentences while others are still on remand at Katojo Prison.
Records from vanilla growers indicate that they have lost more than 5 tonnes of vanilla to thieves in a space of one year.
According to Retired Maj. Alex Baguma, the Operation Wealth Creation – OWC liaisons officer for Vanilla in the country and the chairman of vanilla growers in Ntoroko district, says they have for the first time reached a harvesting season without complaints of theft.
Baguma notes that they will make their first harvest on November 15 and expect 3 tons from more than 20 growers.
In Kayunga, Mukono, Mpigi, Jinja, Kamuli, Buikwe, Bundibugyo, Luweero and Kasese district, vanilla farmers point out theft as the major problem affecting the business.