Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Dr. David Estwick (FP)??

With the Christmas season now in full swing, the scourge of crop and livestock theft, otherwise known as praedial larceny, may unfortunately raise its head again.

And, the farming community is being urged to be vigilant as the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management continues to put plans in place to tackle this problem.

The call has come from Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Dr. David Estwick, who was speaking to journalists recently at his office in Graeme Hall, Christ Church.

"We have to realise that sometimes it takes a community to protect themselves. The farmers who are living in the communities and the residents should work together to have a type of neighbourhood watch programme to see how they can stem praedial larceny," he suggested.

Describing it as a social and legal problem, Dr. Estwick said the Ministry had put a framework in place to assist law enforcement officials in dealing with praedial larceny and agricultural officials were in the process of updating existing legislation.

He stated that the modernised bill would have a number of features including a hotline to report praedial larceny, the establishment of a special desk to monitor areas where crop and animal theft were more prevalent and the creation of a national traceability system.

"To execute the traceability system you, therefore, must have all the farmers in the programme registered and their registration can be done numerically. That numerical registration can be defined in such a way that it can be passed through the system down to the final consumer. So, those persons who may be found with items that they can’t provide the certification or a number matching where they got it from, they will deal with the police," the Agriculture Minister explained.

Dr. Estwick pointed out that the system was being refined and while it may not solve all of the problems associated with praedial larceny, it would go a long way in curbing crop and livestock theft.

??He added that the legislation was presently with the Chief Parliamentary Council and from there should head to Parliament for debate soon.


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