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Theft among farmers of concern

Anesta Henry

Theft among farmers of concern

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THE GROWING TREND of famers stealing from each other is of concern to chief executive officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society, James Paul.
Paul, responding to comments by Minister of Agriculture Dr David Estwick during debate on the Agricultural head under the 2011-2012 Estimate of Revenue and Expenditure last Friday, said the practice needed to be dealt with soonest.
Estwick had charged that there were organized groups of farmers involved in predial larceny.
Paul said local farmers lost millions of dollars annually to predial larceny and he hoped the minister’s bringing to light of the matter would give “the importance of dealing with this problem of farmers stealing from each other top priority”.
Paul also pointed out that retailers had a role to play in the fight. He said supermarkets or retailers should not accept produce or livestock from farmers unless they produced necessary documents they would have received from the Ministry of Agriculture upon registration.
Brighton Plantation owner Michael Pile, whose St George farm has been hit over the years with theft of produce and livestock, and in recent times its agricultural equipment, said that though he had not experienced stealing between farmers, he did not “doubt that it could be happening in Barbados”.
Meanwhile, Independent senator and consultant agronomist Dr Frances Chandler said she was glad to hear that the predial larceny legislation was to be updated.
“But somehow, I think I have heard this before, and nothing happened. In any case, if the present legislation were enforced, we could have been curbing it to some extent.
The minister is reported as saying that with the tracing system, the produce would contain a number which would be transferred to the wholesaler and retailer, and police would be able to request the documents for the produce.
“As far as I know, this certification procedure is a part of the regulations of the present act.”

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