More and more fruit farmers are paying out from their own pockets private security guards to watch over their tropical-fruit orchards.
There have been seven crop-thefts averted recently on the Costa Tropical, thanks to these rural security guards who are filling the gap left by the ever-dwindling, Guardia-Civil, human resources.
Their task is not easy as they can only patrol the tracks between different orchards. If they come across a theft taking place, they cannot physically intervene but have to call out the Guardia Civil. In the case of thieves managing to make off with somebody’s crop without being detected, it is nigh impossible to stop it being sold on.
Each year, it is the same story: farmers spend money and back-breaking time caring for their crops, never knowing whether a hailstorm will wipe it out or a gale bring it all down before it is ripe to pick. On top of that there are the thieves that wait, like jackals, for the right moment to close in and snatch the fruit of the farmer’s labour… and never better said.
This year, high temperatures have meant that crop output is well down on last year. Add this to theft, blight and the pandemic and you’re looking at a bad year.
Getting back to crop theft and how it is moved, farmer associations consider that the majority of it is sold by roadside hawkers or those that drive around the villages in vans selling chirimoyas, avocados and mangos out of the back.
But it is not only private security guards or guardas rurales, who keep an eye on the orchards at night, but also farm workers that sleep in the aperos (tool sheds on the land) and do the rounds at night.
Almuñécar suffers less than Salobreña and Motril as the orchards are normally on terraced land with more difficult access; i.e. El Valle de Rio Verde. Salobreña and Motril generally is on flat land on the peninsular.
(News: Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)