90% of Chilean farmers have suffered robberies in the last 3 years
This was requested by the SNA (through its President Patricio Crespo) and its associated guilds and executed by the Undersecretariat of Crime Prevention, to coordinate actions against rural crime and the robberies affecting agriculture and the fruit sector.
"This is really serious and we need help because the thefts in the orchards discourage people from working in the fields and from providing quality fruit to the markets," stated Ramon Achurra, president of Fedefruta.
Fedefruta presented the results of a survey they had performed on producers regarding the theft of fruit, agricultural inputs, machinery, vehicles, electrical and irrigation infrastructure, among other work items.
According to said survey, 9 out of 10 fruit producers have suffered thefts in the last 3 years. "It is very important to publicize the impact and severity of this issue because we've all had to live it to some extent," he added.
Achurra indicated that more than 60% of the robberies amounted to one million pesos, but that only 67% of those affected had filed a complaint as the remaining victims believed that doing so was a waste of time because the other victims had not obtained any results from filing a complaint."
The president of Fedefruta specifically spoke about the theft of nuts and agricultural inputs, as they both have a high market value, which are concentrated in the regions of Valparaiso and Maule, where the fruit activity takes place in the country.
"It's unbelievable that they enter our warehouses, steal our fertilizers or pesticides, sell them, and go unpunished," said the union leader, who also spoke about the theft of animals and horses.
"Not only do they take our animals but they even slaughter them in our fields, leaving behind their skins and bones and taking their meat, especially the these days before the National holidays."
Other unions, such as Asprocer, spoke about the theft of pigs and trucks, the Agricultural and Livestock Society of Osorno (SAGO) about cattle rustling in the Region of Los Lagos, and the Chilean Walnut Commission about the theft of products for export.
The Undersecretary of Crime Prevention, Antonio Frey, the Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, Claudio Ternicier, the national director of SAG, Angel Sartori, and representatives of the police, the State Attorney, and the SII, listened to the information presented by the different unions and will seek for methods and technologies to reduce this type of crime in rural areas.
"I call on the authorities so that they help us so that the measures are really effective, otherwise criminals will see that the actions against them do not work and crime will continue to grow," he said Achurra. ■