PAKWACH. Simsim farmers in Pakwach district have expressed worry over the increasing cases of theft of the crop in the area.

Most farmers we talked to on Thursday said they are spending sleepless nights guarding their Simsim from thieves.

The farmers, mainly from the villages of Makmukemi, Nyaprach in Pokwero sub-county and parts of Okuma village in Ragem sub-county are now counting losses following the increasing cases of theft of their Simsim especially at night.

According to Mr Raphael Ogena, the village chairperson of Makmukemi, a total of 11 farmers have lost their Simsim both in the garden and on the racks in the village.

He said the escalating theft has caused panic among farmers and as a result, some have decided to take cover in their respective gardens with the aim of lynching the suspects in retaliation, an act the chairperson has condemned.

"Our farmers are worried of the rising cases of theft of their Simsim and we are confident that it is the lazy youths in the village who are behind all this. I want us to work peacefully and report these thieves to the relevant authorities other than killing them," Ogena appealed.

He said the situation has since forced some farmers to start harvesting their Simsim prematurely while others are rushing to sell the crop to earn what they can.

Ms Lydia Ayet, one of the affected farmers noted that she lost about two acres of Simsim from her garden this month.

She said some of her colleagues have now resorted to threshing and selling the crop barely a week after harvest which used not to be the case.

"I invested heavily in opening land and purchasing simsim seeds but four days ago, all the four racks of my Simsim were stolen and that left me helpless," Ayet said.

In Ragem sub-county, four cases of Simsim theft have been reported by farmers who said there are some members of the community conniving with wrong elements to cause havoc to them.

Ms Richard Akenda, the Okuma village chairperson, advised the community members to always remain vigilant and report cases of suspicious movement around their Simsim fields.

"Let us all cooperate and weed out the wrong elements in our village as we submit a request to the sub-county to intensify the security of our area," he said.