Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, says amendments have been made to the Agricultural Produce Act, which will be submitted to Cabinet shortly.
The Act is part of strategies being used to combat the “scourge of praedial larceny”.
Making the announcement at a virtual town hall meeting on praedial larceny on Wednesday (June 10), at the Ministry’s Hope Gardens offices, Mr. Hutchinson said the matter is on the agenda for the 2020/21 financial year.
He noted that among the changes that have been made are the types of crops and livestock covered, the expansion of definitions and the increase in the fines and term of imprisonment for convicted criminals.
“We see value in not only increasing fines and penalties but to add a restitution clause so that farmers can recoup losses directly from the convicted criminals, “Mr. Hutchinson said.
“Farmers are oftentimes disheartened that they are left to seek their own remedy for losses suffered after honouring their obligation to the State in the prosecution of these cases,” he continued.
Mr. Hutchinson urged farmers and stakeholders in the agriculture sector who have been victims of praedial larceny to report the crime.