Poultry farmers in the Puebla municipality of Tehuacán claim they have lost 25 million pesos (US $1.3 million) worth of feed stolen from freight trains so far this year.
That amount of money buys 5,000 tonnes of soybeans or yellow corn, the volume that the 20 firms belonging the the Poultry Farmers’ Association of Tehuacán have lost.
“They’ve been stealing from us all year long,” said spokesman Jorge García de la Cadena Romero, “but the last one was the theft of the century.” He told the newspaper El Universal that 1,000 tonnes of grain was seized by criminals on the first weekend of the month in the biggest of the train robberies.
The grain was enough to feed 30 million chickens, he said.
García de la Cadena recalled that train robberies on the Acucingo-Puebla line were isolated last year.
But the frequency began increasing this year. Criminals follow a modus operandi common elsewhere in the country: they block the tracks with rocks or other materials, forcing the train to stop. The thieves then have carte blanche and help themselves to the cargo.
García de la Cadena wondered about the infrastructure behind grain theft. “It’s not like the product disappears. They need to store, distribute and sell it; the authorities need to look into that.”
Having insurance on the purchased grain is small consolation for the poultry farmers. “It’s like having your car stolen every week . . . no pocket can withstand the situation,” he said.
Livestock breeders are also affected, the farmer said.
He expressed hope that authorities have the “political will” to prosecute and halt the crime.
Source: El Universal (sp)