The great nut robbery: These machete-wielding gangs don't want cash

Harare - Police in Zimbabwe's southern Chipinge district have had to help farmers step up security after machete-wielding robbers began targeting a new and lucrative loot: macadamia nuts.

The state-controlled Manica Post says in its latest edition that police in the area have seized tons of stolen macadamia nuts since last month.

Brazen robbers armed with machetes, knobkerries and catapults are no longer bothering to wait until night to stage their attacks on farmers, but hitting farmers during the daytime, says the report.

"Every day, we are recovering macadamia nuts from robbers and we are handling more reports of theft," police spokesperson Daniel Mhini told the newspaper.

The paper said the nuts had a value of $2-4 per kg.

Farmer Simon Sithole told the Manica Post: "We are living in fear, as some of our workers are being assaulted every day by some of the robbers."

Production of macadamia nuts began in Zimbabwe around 2000. In some cases it can be more profitable than tobacco, farmers have said. 

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