Grain theft is on the increase in the Free State and farmers are suspected of having lost hundreds of thousands of rand in income during the country’s record maize crop, industry association AgriSA said yesterday (Thursday).
According to reports, the maize is weighed and loaded onto trucks – driven by subcontracted truck drivers – at one silo and then delivered to another silo, which is not the delivery point, in order to sell a percentage of the maize.
In the most recent incident, two truck drivers were arrested after they had offered a contractor eight tons of maize at an extremely low price of R800 per ton (asking price is around R1800 per ton). The contractor became suspicious and called the farm manager.
The drivers told SAPS (South African Police Service) officers that they had sold tons of maize between collection and delivery points daily.
Incidents of grain theft have been reported in at least four different areas in the province, according to an AgriSA spokesperson.