As the cocoa business in Bundibugyo district continues to boost many household incomes theft cases have increased forcing farmers to spend sleepless nights watching over their fields.
Others have had to incur extra costs to employ guards.
The problem has since affected the quality of cocoa resulting from immature harvests by thieves which does not meet the standards.
Farmers said the thieves target their gardens at night when everyone is asleep harvest cocoa and also take the already harvested pods left in cocoa fields for fermentation.
Police in Bundibugyo is also concerned about the high cocoa theft cases they register with the number increasing during the harvest season.
According to ASP Taban Swaib the Bundibugyo district police commander between four to six cases are registered daily and the number doubles between August and December when the harvest is at the peak.
Farmers, police and cocoa companies have jointly formed security committees of home guards known as “Wembule” that move within cocoa fields at night securing gardens.
Bagonza Abdallah a cocoa farmer in Katanga cell Bundibugyo town council attributed the problem to ready cocoa market regardless of quantity and amount of money for it can be sold in both small and large quantities and the buyers are many.
Cocoa is the fourth biggest income exchange earner in the country, Bundibugyo district alone produces 85 tonnes annually.
Uganda as a country produces 25,000 metric tones per annum . A kilogram of dry cocoa beans is sold between Shs 4000 and Shs 8000 depending on season.