Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has announced that a Praedial Larceny Unit is to be established within the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF).
During her address to the nation last night, she revealed that Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Dale Marshall, had “agreed to issue instructions” to the RBPF to establish the dedicated unit, following discussion of the issue.
Prime Minister Mottley also disclosed that plans were on the cards to permit farmers to use drones, so they could use geo-fencing technology to monitor and protect crops and livestock.
Describing the theft of crops and livestock as one of the biggest threats to the development of the agricultural sector, she declared: “My Government is committed to putting an end to it as far as possible, but we need to work with you and the communities to make sure that people’s hard work does not come to naught because of stealing.”
The Prime Minister also briefly outlined efforts to build capacity in the sector, highlighting the need to ensure food security, as well as the role of agriculture in the diversification of the island’s economy, particularly in light of the challenges posed by COVID-19.
She said the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security was working to bring 750 additional acres of land into cultivation, under the Farmers Empowerment and Enfranchisement Drive (FEED) programme. The focus would be on the planting of crops that could be reaped within four to six weeks.
“This will not only boost employment, provide jobs, but it will also support our longer term goals to enhance our country’s food security and to improve linkages between the tourism and agricultural sectors,” she explained.
Prime Minister Mottley added that increasing local food production would lessen the need to import foods, especially those which could be grown locally. This, she said, would in turn help to preserve Barbados’ foreign exchange reserves.