The Deputy Commissioner of Police for Eastern Region Mr Kelvin Mulezo has urged communities around Demeter Farm in Balaka District to desist from encroaching into the farm, saying anyone involved will be brought to book.
The Deputy Commissioner said this on Friday August 25, 2023 at Demeter Farm during the interface meeting with Demeter Farm officials, chiefs and religious leaders in Balaka District, saying it is illegal for the community members to be encroaching into the farm.
He added that there is need for collaborative effort for police, communities around Demeter Farm, chiefs and the farm to join hands in protecting the farm.
“What we need as police is peace not arresting the perpetrators who are encroaching into the farm. Wrangles delays development hence the need to solve the problems amicably for the benefit of the farm and sorrounding communities,” said Mulezo.
Mulezo further said the communities around Demeter Farm have an advantage of being employed at the farm, enjoying social responsibilities from the farm and this can be achieved if there is a good relationship between the two groups.
However, Deputy Commissioner Mulezo asked chiefs, religious leaders to take the message shared during the interface meeting to the communities.
On his part, Officer In-charge for Balaka Police Station Senior Superintendent Dan Sauteni said the station and region thought it wise to engage Demeter Farm management, chiefs, religious leaders sorrounding the farm to resolve the differences on land encroachment and cutting down of trees in a protected area.
“As Balaka Police Station, we have been receiving reports of entering into a protected area around Demeter Farm and all the suspects were taken to court and prosecuted. Additional to this, as Balaka Police Station, we do come to conduct patrols around the farm as one way of making sure that the farm is protected,” explained Sauteni.
Speaking on behalf of Demeter Farm, Human Resources Manager Francis Tchereni said the farm is delighted to engage police, chiefs and religious leaders to bang heads and come up with resolution to protect Demeter Farm from land encroachment and among many other issues.
Echoing with Demeter Farm Human Resources Manager, Senior Chief Chamnthunya commended police for organising the meeting, saying chiefs and religious have a big role to play in sensitising the communities on the disadvantages of land encroachment into Demeter Farm.
Senior Chief Chamnthunya added that by-laws will be set aside at Traditional Authority, Group Village Headmen and Village Headmen levels inorder to protect Demeter Farm for the benefit of the communities atlarge.
Representing religious leaders, Pastor Tyson Mpange of CCAP Church said the church will sensitise its members to avoid entering into Demeter Farm as it is a protected area.
Soon after the meeting, the Deputy Commissioner of Police for Eastern Region Mr Kelvin Mulezo and team toured Demeter Farm to appreciate what the farm is doing.
Demeter Farm which has a total of 8896 hectares of land grows different types of crops such as beans, maize and raise cattle.