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Government is working on a set of praedial larceny legislative initiatives to stamp out this threat to the livelihood of farmers.

Minister of Energy and Business Development, Kerrie Symmonds, made this disclosure today as he addressed the media launch to announce the Barbados Trust Fund Limited’s partnerships with the online shopping portal Omniverce.com and Omniverce Holdings Limited, as well as the All Greens, Power of Choice Inc. and others, on the “I Am a Community Farmer and Entrepreneur Agri-business Programme”.

Mr. Symmonds identified praedial larceny as one of the challenges Government must overcome to help those involved in the agriculture sector.

“We are working on a suite of legislative initiatives which will relate directly to this issue, and I hope wrestle it finally to the ground because praedial larceny will be the undoing of all the efforts that you are trying to do here today,” he told his audience.

The Minister also highlighted the need for sanitary and phytosanitary legislation, stating that this country had the capacity to sell locally produced food overseas to earn valuable foreign exchange. However, he noted that those foreign markets could not be penetrated unless Barbados satisfied the sanitary requirements of the officials.

He said the issue had been a bugbear which bedevilled this country for a long time.  “It has to be wrestled to the ground, and part of the way forward will be that this country must have, and will have, in short order, sanitary and phytosanitary legislation…,” he stated.

Mr. Symmonds underscored the importance of the two major initiatives, which will offer the BTFL’s clients access to a range of new e-commerce opportunities, and create young community farmers and agri-businesses.

With regard to the agri-business project, which will see the BTFL offering young people and their parents loans to purchase the Instant Kitchen Gardens, the Minister said it was necessary to give people an opportunity to be involved in the production of their food.

“We cannot speak to the question of self-sufficiency if we do not also factor into the equation that self-sufficiency means that every household in this country must have some ability to generate that which they eat…. 

“There must be, going hand in hand with that effort, the effort to make sure that we are building out a class of entrepreneurs.  One of the things that attracts me specifically…about this effort is that the agri-business…carries with it a component of training,” he suggested.

Omniverce.com is an online shopping portal which focuses on small and medium-sized businesses, and allows them to create free stores online for the sale of their goods and services.  

Minister Symmonds expressed the view that the creation of the virtual space would allow the Barbadian goods, services and attractions to be accessed by all.

“That virtual space has no limit, and it is an initiative whose time has come,” he stated, as he praised the BTFL for looking for opportunities to further assist its clients.

sharon.austingill-moore@barbados.gov.bb

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