MONITOR LOCAL MARKETS
There needs to be more effective monitoring of local markets where produce is being sold, to ensure that crop thieves do not have an easy avenue through which they can get rid of stolen crops.
CEO of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS), James Paul made the point recently, as he called for more effective monitoring of local markets by the relevant authorities and for the enforcement of legislation already in place, to reduce incidences of praedial larceny.
“We are seeing now in the BAS, a whole volume of complaints and frustration among farmers, when it comes to the issue of praedial larceny. Just recently, we have had a story where plantations who have grown crops, cannot harvest them,” Paul stressed.
“When you can plant ten acres of a crop and cannot harvest it, that is an issue and I really think that we need now to start to look at this issue seriously. Government cannot provide jobs for everybody as civil servants and we have people out there who are actually going out there and creating jobs for themselves in the agricultural sector. The problem is that we have a situation where people are actively engaging in the stealing of crops,” he continued.
He then added, “We want to appeal for more effective monitoring systems… even at the markets, we are appealing that the activity of persons in the market who are selling produce be monitored.”
Stressing that it is obvious that the amount of produce which is being stolen has to be heading somewhere, Paul charged that a lot of stolen produce is being sold in vegetable markets, on Saturday mornings.
“We need to have some type of system in place that we can expect persons who go to the markets to actually account for the produce they are selling. We can’t have a situation where people go out there and they break their backs planting crops and after four months or so when they expect a yield from that crop, that they cannot at least get some reward from it, because we have a frustration element now coming in amongst the farming community, on this particular issue,” Paul asserted.
Stressing that what is needed is enforcement of the current legislation so that persons can utilise purchase certificates already in place, the BAS CEO also made a call for more inspectors to traverse and monitor the markets and do a better job of scrutinising persons who are actually selling produce, so as to address the issue.