Government is taking a comprehensive look at the problem of praedial larceny across the island, with a view to tackling it in a wholistic way.

This assurance came today from Prime Minister Freundel Stuart as he addressed the Barbados Agricultural Society???s Symposium at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre entitled Moving Towards A Viable and Vibrant Agricultural Sector.

Mr. Stuart told the gathering that his discussions with affected farmers during his recent tour of Agrofest impressed the seriousness of this scourge even more deeply on him. ??

Describing praedial larceny as most unfair to farmers, he continued: ???Many have called for amendments to the law to provide for stiffer penalties, but penalties become relevant only after you have nabbed the perpetrator, and that is where the challenge has been???

???Intended approaches will include fixing the receiver with the responsibility to certify that the supplier can account for the origin of the item being supplied, in accordance with the standards set by the amended law. Penalties will be stiffened to deal with both parties if collusion is established.???

During his wide-ranging address, the Prime Minister said considerable data and studies had been produced on the agricultural industry and he suggested that the change must now be rolled out.??

???My vision for agriculture in Barbados is one of positive, effective, and enduring change to the sector, distinguished by creativity in its outlook, cost effectiveness in its production methods and consistency in its practice. It is our attitude to change that will make the difference. We need to start the change in agriculture with haste,??? he stressed.

Acknowledging that there was only so much that Government could do, he surmised that there was a need for Barbadians of all classes, races, religions, ages and genders to commit themselves to taking part in the realisation of this new vision for agriculture.

Mr. Stuart pointed out that there were some excellent ideas in the agricultural industry, but some major hurdles ahead. ???For example, we have not yet been able to effect that much needed synergy between agricultural production and the consumption needs of the tourist industry. This is not the fault of the farmers of Barbados. Our hoteliers have had to be reminded constantly that visitors to our shores are in search of a new experience, and that includes a new culinary experience. The successful Oistins and Moontown experiences, I think, need to be replicated across the island,??? he opined.

He added that there was also potential for the utilisation of the by-products of local agriculture in craft and artisanal products derived from animal hides, straw, seeds, roots and grasses for the souvenir market.

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