JIS News

The Farmer Registration Programme, introduced by the Ministry of Agriculture last year to combat praedial larceny, has been intensified in the parish of St. James, with some 4,700 farmers registered to date.
According to the Parish Manager for the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Wentworth Mitchell, the percentage of farmers seeking registration has seen a sharp increase due to the recent removal of identification (ID) fees by Government.
“One of the programmes that we are now embarking on to curtail praedial larceny in the parish is the farmer registration programme, which is going quite well at this time. We started out slowly but with a removal of the set fees that used to be paid by the farmers for the ID, we find that there is a marked increase in the number of farmers coming forward for registration. We have moved from 63 farmers coming in April to 136 in May, which is more than 100 per cent increase since the fee has been removed,” Mr. Mitchell told JIS News in an interview.
He pointed out that the farmers’ organization has been focusing on the target of registering at least 6,000 farmers in the parish and urged those who have not been registered to do so now, as there are several benefits and opportunities available to farmers who comply.
“Some farmers are still reluctant to register . but this is a necessary procedure, as it provides us with data as to what is happening in farming, such as the type and quantity of crops and livestock that are out there, so we will know how to plan our marketing of the products and that is critical,” Mr. Mitchell said.
“Also, when we have a disaster, the data collected from the registration will guide us as to the level of assistance for farmers who may have suffered and also to ensure that assistance falls into the hands of legitimate farmers. It is also critical that farmers are registered and possess valid IDs, so that they can benefit from loan programmes, grants, farm assistance by way of tools, fertilizer, seeds, special projects, discounts from stores and a host of other opportunities which are available to those who are registered,” he added.
He appealed to the many unregistered farmers to come forward and obtain their farmer IDs, so that the drive to stamp out the activities of praedial thieves can be effective.

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